Facebook illustration. - Rishi Deka / Sipa USA / SIPA
Faced with calls for boycott, Facebook is helping out. On Tuesday, the social network banned groups claiming to be from the far-right American movement "Boogaloo", one more action by the network under strong pressure to purge the platform of racist, violent, hateful and also deceptive content.
Now classified in the "dangerous individuals and organizations" category, "this violent network is banned from any presence on our platform and we will remove all the content that supports it, promotes it or represents it," said a press release.
Hunting for “inciting hatred”
A few hours earlier, Facebook had announced new rules for prioritizing articles on users' news feeds, to promote quality information and fight against disinformation and sterile sensationalism.
And already Friday, Mark Zuckerberg opened the ball of concessions. The head of the Californian group said that Facebook would now remove more types of "hate speech" and hide messages considered problematic by politicians, until now tolerated as such.
The social media giant, accused of laxity over political disinformation and toxic content, is indeed facing an unprecedented boycott.
The accusations are not new, but in the context of demonstrations against systemic racism in the United States, associations have called on brands to strike where it hurts: advertising revenue. Nearly 200 companies, including Coca-Cola, Levis, Unilever and Starbucks, are now boycotting Facebook for the entire month of July, or even beyond, and asking the company to review its copy on these subjects.
An ultra-violent movement
Facebook on Tuesday removed 220 Facebook accounts, 95 Instagram accounts, 28 pages and 106 groups that currently make up the “Boogaloo” network, as well as 400 other groups and more than 100 pages that hosted similar content.
The movement, which is neither very organized nor very united, includes anti-government and pro-gun activists, neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Its heavily armed followers have repeatedly tried to disrupt recent anti-racist protests, which have been taking place for a month in response to the death of George Floyd, an African-American killed by a white police officer. They have worried American authorities since one of them killed two police officers in California in early June.
Facebook fears their return to its platform in another terminology, because they communicate and organize themselves via social networks. In a study published in April, the Tech Transparency Project counted 125 groups dedicated to the Boogaloo ideology on Facebook, with tens of thousands of subscribers discussing weapons, explosives and tactics to attack the authorities.
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- Far right
- United States