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Facebook still hosts boogaloo extremist groups, report finds

Facebook still hosts boogaloo extremist groups, report finds


The platform took down a network of these accounts in June

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Facebook is still littered with groups and pages aligned with the antigovernment “boogaloo” movement months after the company announced that it would ban these communities, according to a new report from the Tech Transparency Project Wednesday. 

In June, Facebook announced that it would remove groups dedicated to the boogaloo movement, months after reports first surfaced that the right-wing extremist group leveraged the platform to organize for an armed revolt. At the time, Facebook said that it removed over 200 boogaloo Facebook groups and 95 Instagram accounts for violating its policies against organized violence, along with 400 other groups that were related to the extremist movement. 

But that policy change could be less effective than it originally suggested. In its report Wednesday, the Tech Transparency Project said that it had “found that Facebook has consistently failed to spot boogaloo activity and missed boogaloo groups’ simple name changes designed to evade detection.” The organization identified 110 boogaloo Facebook groups that were created since the platform announced its ban on them in June and some of these groups “have more than 1,000” members. They often share instructions on creating explosives and other harmful behavior.

“Since we banned a violent network tied to boogaloo, we have seen continued changes in language and tactics to try to evade our detection,” a Facebook spokesperson told The Verge. “Our team of experts has been expecting this behavior and we are updating the language and symbols we use to identify this network weekly to continue to enforce our policies.”

The boogaloo movement represents a group of loosely connected conservative and libertarian individuals who are often heavily armed and advocate for a second Civil War. The Tech Transparency Project said in its report Thursday that many of the groups aligned with the movement do not use “boogaloo” in their names, and often change their names to derivations of the word like “big luau” to avoid detection from the platform. 

In June, the company said, “this violent network is banned from having a presence on our platform and we will remove content praising, supporting or representing it.” 

Updated 8/11/20 at 6:40 PM ET: Added a statement from Facebook.