TTP Investigation: Facebook’s Crackdown on the Boogaloo Movement Leaves Major Holes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 12, 2020
Contact: Michael Clauw, email@example.com, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA), a nonprofit watchdog group that runs the Tech Transparency Project (TTP), released a report detailing Facebook’s continued failure to stop members of the “boogaloo” movement from organizing on the platform. TTP first highlighted Facebook’s boogaloo problem in April, documenting how extremists are using the social network to plan for what they see as a coming civil war. But it took Facebook until June 30 to ban what it called a “violent” boogaloo network. Despite that ban and other actions announced by Facebook, TTP found that the movement is still growing on the platform.
CfA Executive Director Michelle Kuppersmith said, “Facebook’s supposed crackdown on boogaloo supporters is nothing more than a PR stunt. As long as Mark Zuckerberg refuses to get serious about enforcing his company’s own rules, Facebook users associated with dangerous organizations and movements will continue to exploit the platform’s laxity. It should not be up to watchdog groups and journalists to prevent dangerous activity on Facebook. As the continued presence of boogaloo groups makes clear, the platform is the problem.”
TTP identified 110 Facebook boogaloo groups created since the platform’s June 30 ban. Facebook also failed to remove dozens of groups identified by TTP in April. Taken together, the new groups and the remainders from April exceed the number of boogaloo groups that TTP found on Facebook four months ago.
Some boogaloo groups have managed to avoid Facebook’s supposed crackdown simply by adopting new names derived from children’s movies or media outlets. “CNN Salsa and Sombrero Enthusiasts,” “MSNB-sí Bois,” “FoxNews Fajita Emporium and Spa,” and “Vice Journalism Party and Taco Bar” are among the new groups identified by TTP.
Despite the new names, however, these groups are still engaging in the same dangerous tactics and activities, and Facebook has been slow to respond. For example, instructions for making gasoline bombs and Molotov cocktails, which were posted in a group that TTP flagged in its April report, remained accessible until early June. TTP also discovered that, on July 19, a Google Drive folder that includes manuals for bomb making, terrorist kidnapping, and different methods of murder was shared across multiple boogaloo groups on Facebook.
Boogaloo supporters have been increasingly tied to violent plots and real-world violence. In early June, the government’s Joint Terrorism Task Force outlined a case against three self-identified members of the boogaloo movement, alleging they planned to target a Black Lives Matter protest in Las Vegas with Molotov cocktails. Meanwhile, a boogaloo supporter in Oakland, California, named Steven Carrillo was charged with murder and attempted murder of law enforcement officers. All four of these men were members of Facebook boogaloo groups that TTP identified in its April report.
Ms. Kuppersmith continued, “Mark Zuckerberg likes to hold Facebook up as a bastion of free speech, but he appears remarkably unconcerned about its role in real-world violence. As long as gaps remain in Facebook’s standards and its ability or willingness to enforce them, more people are likely to be hurt or even die.”
Campaign for Accountability is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.