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Facebook bans Antifa accounts, other groups promoting violence

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After banning QAnon groups – which are not violent – how could Facebook allow real terror groups like Antifa and BLM, who incite to violence and destruction, to remain on its platform?

Facebook said on Wednesday that it had removed 790 QAnon groups from its site and was restricting another 1,950 groups, 440 pages and more than 10,000 Instagram accounts related to the right-wing conspiracy theory, in the social network’s most sweeping action against the fast-growing movement.

Facebook’s takedown followed record growth of QAnon groups on the site, much of it since the coronavirus pandemic began in March. Activity on some of the largest QAnon groups on the social network, including likes, comments and shares of posts, rose 200 to 300 percent in the last six months, according to data gathered by The New York Times.

QAnon have not engaged in violent acts.

But BLM and Antifa have.

“We have seen growing movements that, while not directly organizing violence, have celebrated violent acts, shown that they have weapons and suggest they will use them, or have individual followers with patterns of violent behavior,” Facebook said in a statement, adding that it would also block QAnon hashtags such as #digitalarmy and #thestorm.

Facebook bans Antifa accounts, other groups promoting violence

Facebook is taking actions against Antifa and other “offline anarchist groups that support violent acts amidst protests.”

By: Mia Cathell The Post Millennial, August 19, 2020:

Admins released a press statement today updating the site’s policy towards violent networks in the United States, titled, “An Update to How We Address Movements and Organizations Tied to Violence.”

“Today we are taking action against Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts tied to offline anarchist groups that support violent acts amidst protests, US-based militia organizations and QAnon,” Facebook officials prefaced the statement.

Facebook admins already remove content calling for or advocating violence and ban organizations and individuals who proclaim a violent mission under the site’s Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy.

“However, we have seen growing movements that, while not directly organizing violence, have celebrated violent acts, shown that they have weapons and suggest they will use them, or have individual followers with patterns of violent behavior,” officials conceded.

Facebook then announced its decision to expand this policy to address organizations and movements that have “demonstrated significant risks to public safety” but do not meet the “rigorous criteria to be designated as a dangerous organization” and banned from the social media platform.

For militia organizations and those encouraging riots, “including some who may identify as Antifa,” Facebook reported that it initially removed over 980 groups, 520 Pages, and 160 ads from Facebook and restricted over 1,400 hashtags related to these groups and organizations on Instagram.

However, the site will allow individuals to post content that supports these movements and groups, but will restrict their ability to organize on the platform.

Under this policy expansion, Facebook will impose restrictions to limit the spread of content from Facebook Pages, Groups, and Instagram accounts and such where admins identify discussions of potential violence, including the use of “unveiled language and symbols particular to the movement.”

Facebook will reduce related content’s ranking in the site’s News Feed and search results. Hashtags and titles of restricted entities on the platform will be limited in search and will not be suggested through Facebook’s search typeahead function.

Facebook Pages related to these movements will be prohibited from running ads or selling products using Marketplace and Shop. In the near future, Facebook will prohibit anyone from running ads praising, supporting, or representing these movements. Additionally, the site will prohibit nonprofits and personal accounts—it identifies as representing or seeking to support these movements and organizations—from using its fundraising tools.

Officials added that they will remove content that violates any of their policies, regarding fake accounts, bullying and harassment, hate speech, and inciting violence.

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