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Facebook has removed more than 6,500 militia groups and pages

A month-old policy cracking down on “militarized social movements" has resulted in thousands of takedowns.
Karissa Bell, @karissabe
September 30, 2020
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Facebook logo is displayed on a mobile phone screen photographed for illustration photo in Krakow, Poland on 16 January, 2020.  (Photo by Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook has removed more than 6,500 pages and groups associated with “militarized social movements,” since the company announced it would crack down on QAnon and militia movements on its platform last month. 

Under the new rules, Facebook said it would take down accounts associated with QAnon, militia groups and other “offline anarchist groups” if they “discuss potential violence.” The company also said it would take steps to make these groups less visible in its apps.

Now, just over a month later, we have a better idea at how many takedowns have actually happened as a result of the policy. Brian Fishman, Director of Counterterrorism and Dangerous Organizations at Facebook, said the company had identified more than 300 organizations, and taken down thousands of pages and groups as a result of the updated rules. Fishman didn’t disclose exactly which groups the takedowns were associated with.

The policy came under scrutiny last month after Facebook failed to remove an event page that called for an armed response to protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, despite several users reporting it. Mark Zuckerberg later called it an “operational mistake.”

Fishman also detailed Facebook’s actions against the far-right extremist group Proud Boys, after the group got renewed attention following Donald Trump’s comments during the presidential debate. He said Facebook had seen “an uptick” in memes and other content related to the Proud Boys, but said “much of this content” was condemning the group and Trump’s remarks. Facebook banned the Proud Boys in 2018, and has recently taken down other accounts associated with it, Fishman said.

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