Social media giant Facebook took down user accounts, pages and groups tied to the far-right Boogaloo movement on Tuesday, after drawing criticism due to white supremacist content on its platforms. The Boogaloo movement seeks to incite a civil war in the United States.
The company removed 220 Facebook accounts, 95 Instagram accounts, 28 pages and 106 groups tied to the Boogaloo movement. Facebook said these accounts were a “credible threat” to public safety and were “actively promoting violence against civilians, law enforcement, and government officials and institutions.”
The move comes after a group of Democratic senators on the same day demanded Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg do more to purge white supremacist content from the social media platform.
“The United States is going through a long-overdue examination of the systemic racism prevalent in our society. Americans of all races, ages, and backgrounds have bravely taken to the streets to demand equal justice for all,” a letter addressed to Zuckerberg from Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Bob Menendez, D-N.J.
“While Facebook has attempted to publicly align itself with this movement, its failure to address the hate spreading on its platform reveals significant gaps between Facebook’s professed commitment to racial justice and the company’s actions and business interests.”
The lawmakers mentioned the case of Air Force Staff Sergeant Steven Carrillo, who faces murder charges after he allegedly killed a federal security guard in Oakland, California, during anti-police brutality demonstrations in May. Carrillo took part in Boogaloo groups on Facebook and expressed support for attacks on law enforcement. Adherents to the movement, known as “Boogaloo bois,” frequently wear Hawaiian shirts and carry assault rifles.
Intelligence reports obtained by Politico revealed that the Boogaloo movement could stir unrest in Washington, D.C.
A report from the Department of Homeland Security obtained by the outlet says “domestic terrorists advocating for the boogaloo very likely will take advantage of any regional or national situation involving heightened fear and tensions to promote their violent extremist ideology and call supporters to action.”
Facebook is also facing an advertiser boycott for not doing enough to stamp out hate speech on its platforms. A “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign organized by a coalition of civil rights groups has resulted in companies such as Coca-Cola and Unilever suspending Facebook ads to pressure the social media giant into changing its content moderation policies.