Amid The Pandemic, U.S. Militia Groups Plot ‘The Boogaloo,’ AKA Civil War, On Facebook
Extremists are promoting anti-government violence on Facebook during the coronavirus pandemic. The social media giant appears to be doing little about it.
Thousands of armed right-wing militants are plotting a violent uprising against the U.S. government during the coronavirus crisis, a new report finds, and Facebook is providing them a platform to prepare and organize.
A report published Thursday by the watchdog group the Tech Transparency Project found 125 Facebook groups devoted to the idea of the “boogaloo,” a far-right term used to describe what they believe is an inevitable civil war in the U.S. Members discuss weapons, combat medicine, and how to develop explosives, the report says. One group even shared a document detailing how to disrupt U.S. government supply lines and discussing the possible need to assassinate government officials.
These groups have proliferated during the pandemic, according to the report, as right-wing extremists grow more agitated over lockdown orders aimed at slowing the spread of the virus, measures many militia and “patriot” groups view as the oppressive maneuverings of a tyrannical government.
Over 60% of the groups were created in just the last three months, according to the report. The 125 groups have nearly 73,000 members, though it’s unclear how many individuals may belong to multiple groups.
About 50% of the groups’ members have joined within the last 30 days.
The groups have flourished despite Facebook community guidelines that prohibit facilitating, organizing or promoting “harmful activities targeted at people.” The guidelines also ban “statements of intent to commit high-severity violence.”
Daniel E. Stevens, executive director of Campaign for Accountability, the umbrella organization under which TTP operates, told HuffPost in a statement Thursday that “Facebook’s failure to stop their platform from being used as an organizing tool for extremists is completely unacceptable.”
“There is nothing subtle about how these extremist groups are using Facebook’s platform to advance their cause,” Stevens said. “Boogaloo proponents are not simply discussing ideas or political views; they are directly advocating for violent action and tactically planning how to defeat government entities.”
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