Facebook Removes Almost 200 Hate Group Accounts in Wake of Protests

Account removals are part of a larger effort from the social network

Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg in 2018.
Anthony Quintano/Creative Commons

Social media can be a useful tool to bring people together to take action for a better world. It can also be used for the opposite effect: divisiveness, conflict and chaos. On Friday, Facebook took a step towards making its platform a safer place. The Associated Press reports that the social media platform has taken a forward-thinking step — removing almost 200 accounts of hate groups who had been encouraging their members to disrupt protests against police brutality.

The article mentions that the groups involved were ones who had already run afoul of Facebook’s guidelines:

The accounts on Facebook and Instagram were tied to the Proud Boys and the American Guard, two hate groups already banned on the platforms. Officials were already monitoring the accounts in preparation for removing them when they saw posts attempting to exploit the ongoing protests prompted by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Writing at Gizmodo, Alyse Stanley notes that this decision comes on the heels of Facebook setting out its response to the “Boogaloo” movement. Stanley writes that “Boogaloo” groups won’t be banned outright, however:

… Facebook promised that it would no longer prompt users of associated groups to join Boogaloo groups, wherein violent calls to action — particularly in regards to ongoing protests — are becoming a serious problem.

The Associated Press notes that the account removals were part of a larger global effort to remove political misinformation, and coincided with the removal of other accounts in Kurdistan and Tunisia.

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