Facebook targets vague but risky anarchists in latest policy update

Brittany A. Roston - Aug 19, 2020, 4:57pm CDT
Facebook targets vague but risky anarchists in latest policy update

Facebook is cracking down on anarchist groups that don’t explicitly meet the criteria of being a dangerous organization, but that do engage in problematic behaviors and support content that indicate ‘significant risks’ to the public, according to the company. The update adds these groups to Facebook’s Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy.

Facebook recently removed thousands of accounts related to the QAnon conspiracy theory; this new policy update builds upon that, targeting anarchist groups that are problematic based on a variety of criteria. A number of things could get these groups removed from Facebook and Instagram under the updated policy.

One example is having followers who have demonstrated ‘patterns of violent behavior,’ according to Facebook, which also says that movements with a history of showing that they have weapons and that they’re willing to use them will also face the banhammer. Likewise, groups that celebrate violent acts are targeted under the revised policy even if those groups don’t organize any violence themselves.

Not all movements and groups that fall into the above category will be removed, however. Facebook says that it will implement restrictions to limit their spread in some instances, removing their ability to be recommended to others, reducing their News Feed ranking, reducing their visibility in Search, blocking them from accessing monetization tools and ads, and prohibiting them fundraising on the platform.

In addition, Facebook says that it has removed the Related Hashtags feature on Instagram, but that it will return in the future with ‘stronger protections’ to limit users’ ability to find these problematic groups and movements.

Thus far, Facebook says that it has purged around 1,500 advertisements related to QAnon, more than 300 hashtags, 100 QAnon Facebook Pages, more than 709 QAnon Groups, and that it has further restricted more than 1,950 Groups and 440 Pages, as well as around 10,000 Instagram accounts.


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