TTP Report: Facebook Boogaloo Crackdown Falls Short as Extremists Return
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 7, 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 its latest report tracking the “boogaloo” movement of anti-government extremists, which is showing new signs of activity on Facebook. So-called boogaloo bois are returning to the platform, energized by the spike in violent, far-right rhetoric against federal officials following the FBI’s search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, our investigation found. Facebook promised to crack down on the boogaloo movement starting in 2020, but TTP found no signs that Meta, Facebook’s parent company, has recognized or acted on this re-emerging threat.
Campaign for Accountability Executive Director Michelle Kuppersmith said, “These findings show that Meta is—yet again—failing to prevent the spread of extremist rhetoric on its platform. And with the ‘boogaloo bois,’ the dangerous behavior extends beyond just words. Dozens have been arrested for committing real world acts of violence in recent years, and if Facebook continues to give them a platform to recruit and grow, we may see more.”
In a sign of the renewed activity, the administrator of the Facebook page “RedactedCaucus,” which is affiliated with the boogaloo movement, shared a link to a newly formed group on Aug. 24 called “[ R3DACTD ],” posting, “It’s been over a year. We are going to try the group thing again. Who wants in?” One boogaloo group member even suggested the movement is experiencing fewer restrictions on Facebook, writing, “Anyone else wondering why the algorithms are magically permitting it again?”
TTP observed that a number of the re-energized Facebook boogaloo groups have been valorizing the armed man who was killed after attacking an FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio, days after the FBI’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. Boogaloo followers have a history of praising perceived martyrs to their cause, such as Duncan Lemp, who was killed by police during a no-knock raid in Maryland in March 2020, and Steven Carrillo, the boogaloo follower sentenced for killing a federal security officer.
The investigation identified a number of boogaloo groups that were created in the spring of 2022—following the Biden administration’s announcement of new steps to curb gun violence—and have continued to recruit new followers in recent weeks. One example is the “Bigaloo Bogaloo” group, which launched in April 2022 and had more than 3,300 members as of Aug. 25. In a sign of the group’s recent growth after the Mar-a-Lago search, it amassed over 500 new followers during the week of Aug. 22 alone.
Despite Facebook’s crackdown, boogaloo supporters appear undaunted in their continued use of the platform to promote their message. A user in one group posted a meme about promising not to be a “snitch.” One person commented, “people rather do blood oaths than move to Gab,” underscoring how Facebook—with its unparalleled reach—continues to be the preferred platform for the boogaloo movement, despite the availability of far-right fringe alternatives.
Ms. Kuppersmith continued, “Facebook users have long used the platform to co-opt news events to rally new followers to causes large and small. Unfortunately, the boogaloo cause is the stoking of a civil war, and Facebook is failing the American people by allowing it to spread.”
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.