TTP Investigation: Far-Right Militias Stoke D.C. Trucker Convoy on Facebook
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 28, 2022
Contact: Michael Clauw, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 showing that far-right militias groups are using Facebook to organize financial, material, and even logistical support for trucker convoys that plan to descend on Washington, D.C. next month in a replica of the protests that paralyzed Ottawa, Canada. The findings highlight how Facebook is allowing militia groups to latch on to the trucker protests to build support for their cause and advance their extremist agenda.
Campaign for Accountability Executive Director Michelle Kuppersmith said, “Despite promises from Facebook to crack down on extremist militia organizations, once again we are seeing these groups alive and well and using Facebook’s tools to draw Americans closer to extremism. If Facebook does not work urgently to deliver on its promises to clean up the platform, it will provide the organizational means for these extremists to co-opt this latest protest movement and steer it toward violence.”
TTP previously reported on the “toxic stew” created on Facebook when militia groups are able to capitalize on anti-vaccine frustrations, and that same toxicity is playing out again. This latest investigation discovered multiple militia groups, some of them associated with the anti-government Three Percenters, urging their members to provide donations, security, and fuel to the convoys as they make their way to D.C. to protest vaccine requirements and other government Covid measures.
One page promoting the convoy, titled “Patriots Time to Stand,” does little to hide its Three Percenter ideology. Among the page’s first images is a military-style vest with an “AP III%” patch (a reference to American Patriots Three Percent militia). On Feb. 12, the page began running a Facebook ad featuring a “III” logo with text that reads, “WHEN TYRANNY BECOMES LAW, REBELLION BECOMES DUTY.”
TTP flagged another group promoting the convoy, “US Freedom Fighters,” in its August 2021 “toxic stew” report, but it inexplicably remains on the platform over six months later. The group’s repeated sharing of conspiracy theories and talk of civil war appears to violate Facebook’s Tier 3 Community Standards on “Militarized Social Movements” and “Violence-Inducing Conspiracy Networks.” The company’s policy states that “Tier 3 entities may not have a presence or coordinate on our platforms.”
TTP’s investigation also found that Canadian Facebook groups that sprang up to support the trucker protests in Ottawa frequently used rhetoric about “tyranny” and “civil war” that mirrors the violent and anti-government language prevalent in American militia groups on Facebook. This strongly suggests that Facebook—now part of Meta—is helping U.S. militia groups export extremist views beyond America’s borders.
Ms. Kuppersmith continued, “Facebook’s international footprint affords it the opportunity to reap tremendous profits from the free flow of ideas and advertisements across borders, but when that flow leads to violence and toxicity, it has an equally great responsibility to stop it. This is just the latest example of the company failing to meet this responsibility.”
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.