Facebook bans accounts linked to anti-government US ‘boogaloo’ movement

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook Inc stepped up the battle against the amorphous anti-government "boogaloo" movement on Tuesday (Jun 30), banning accounts of adherents who encouraged violence during recent anti-racism protests across the United States.

The social media company for the first time designated a subset of boogaloo followers as a dangerous organization, marking them for the same sanctions Facebook applies to 250 white supremacist groups and organizations it categorizes as supporting terrorism around the world.

Advertisement

Advertisement

The move came four days after Attorney General William Barr established a Justice Department task force to counter violent anti-government extremists including boogaloo as well as the left-wing antifa movement.

The boogaloo movement's name is inspired by the 1984 breakdancing film "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo." Followers suggest that, just as the movie was a sequel, any coming conflict would be the sequel to the American Civil War.

"This violent network is banned from having a presence on our platform and we will remove content praising, supporting or representing it," Facebook said in a blog post. "It is actively promoting violence against civilians, law enforcement and government officials and institutions."

Facebook said it its policy was a blunt instrument that included removing praise for the banned network and shared pictures, so that many who thought posts were funny will also see their material taken down. The targeted network includes 106 Facebook groups and 220 accounts, and another 400 groups were also removed for hosting similar content.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Prosecutors have linked boogaloo followers to several violent incidents during the recent wave of protests across the United States following the May police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Two men inspired by the boogaloo movement were charged in California in the killing of a courthouse guard during a night of nearby protests.

In Las Vegas, three people who prosecutors say are members of the boogaloo movement were arrested and charged with planning to incite violence and destruction during protests.

Evidence of US law enforcement's concern over boogaloo emerged in hacked documents published June 19 by the leaks site Distributed Denial of Secrets. Dozens of analysis documents concluded that the term is used by racially motivated and far-right actors encouraging violence against police.

The Southern Poverty Law Center advocacy group said the term boogaloo "is regularly deployed by white nationalists and neo-Nazis who want to see society descend into chaos so that they can come to power and build a new fascist state."

FAST-CHANGING SYMBOLS

Instead of using widely known symbols, boogaloo imagery evolves rapidly, even shedding the word boogaloo in favor of homonyms like big igloo and big luau – and then adopting new symbols like igloos and Hawaiian shirts.

"Members of this network seek to recruit others within the broader boogaloo movement, sharing the same content online and adopting the same offline appearance as others in the movement to do so," Facebook said.

The company said it anticipated a complicated cycle of objections, evasions and eRead More – Source