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Facebook moves to limit spread of extremist ‘boogaloo’ pages and groups

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Facebook moves to limit spread of extremist ‘boogaloo’ pages and groups

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Facebook is limiting the spread of pages and groups linked with the word “boogaloo,” an internet slang term used in some far-right extremist circles to refer to the idea of an impending second American Civil War, as first reported by Reuters. The boogaloo term has since evolved into a disjointed anti-government movement with various and at times conflicting views.

Facebook says it will no longer recommend boogaloo pages and groups to users and is demoting them in search results, Facebook tells The Verge. The change was made on June 2nd. On May 1st, Facebook updated its Violence and Incitement policy to ban boogaloo and similar terms when used with images or statements depicting armed violence.

On Thursday, the FBI arrested three men in Nevada who self-identified with the boogaloo movement on terrorism-related charges for plotting to incite violence at an anti-police protest in Las Vegas. More and more self-described boogaloo members, many of which are also gun rights advocates, are using protests against racism and police brutality as cover to to promote anti-government demonstrations involving displays of firearms, CNN reports.

An April 22nd Tech Transparency Project (TTP) report found 125 boogaloo Facebook groups with more than 72,000 members combined. More than 60 percent of the groups were created in the three months before the report was published.

“In several private boogaloo Facebook groups that TTP was able to access, members discussed tactical strategies, combat medicine, and various types of weapons, including how to develop explosives and the merits of using flame throwers,” the report said.

“Some members appeared to take inspiration from President Donald Trump’s recent tweets calling on people to ‘liberate’ states where governors have imposed stay-at-home orders,” the report continued. And a Network Contagion Institute report found that “since November of 2019, mentions of boogaloo/boog have more than doubled [on Reddit] and show sustained and increasing activity over the COVID-19 period.”

The term “boogaloo” draws inspiration from the title of the 1984 movie Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, according to a separate Network Contagion Institute report. “As adopted by meme culture, the [boogaloo] term is often used by libertarians, gun enthusiasts, and anarchists to describe an uprising against the government or left-wing political opponents that is a near-mirror copy, or sequel to, the American Civil War,” the report states.

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