That network of Facebook users, the company said, was engaged in recruiting followers from the wider Boogaloo movement for clearly violent purposes.
In a separate move, Facebook issued another batch of bans Tuesday targeting more than 400 groups and 100 pages that hosted “similar content” praising or supporting the movement but that Facebook said were not primarily operated by members of the first network and did not appear to promote as much violence.
“Officials have identified violent adherents to the movement as those responsible for several attacks over the past few months,” Facebook said in the blog post. “These acts of real-world violence and our investigations into them are what led us to identify and designate this distinct network.”
The crackdown was announced hours after Sen. Mark Warner, a top critic of the tech industry in Washington, wrote a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressing concerns about the spread of extremist content on the platform, saying he feared Facebook may be “unable (or unwilling) to enforce its own Community Standards.”
In the announcement, Facebook drew careful distinctions between the Boogaloo movement more generally and the specific accounts and pages it said were advocating violence.
The banned accounts shared many similarities with the overall movement, Facebook said, drawing on similar language and iconography. But, Facebook officials told reporters on a conference call, the platform’s enforcement on Tuesday is directed at users who sought to co-opt the movement’s symbols — such as igloos and Hawaiian shirts — to promote violence, and that non-violent Boogaloo content may still be referenced on Facebook. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, citing possible concerns for their safety if they were to be publicly named in connection with the content crackdown.
The Anti-Defamation League, which has been tracking the Boogaloo movement, has said the name of the collective is a reference to the 1984 film “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.” Some of the movement’s adherents have suggested, perhaps jokingly, of a second US civil war, according to the ADL.
Facebook told reporters on the call that it expects further adaptations and evolutions of the movement as members seek to evade the company’s enforcement efforts.
Facebook said Tuesday it has already removed more than 800 posts related to Boogaloo under its policy against violence and incitement in the past two months.