Facebook has banned a “violent US-based anti-government network” loosely affiliated with the “Boogaloo” movement whose followers have appeared heavily armed at recent protests, the company said Tuesday.
The group uses the term “boogaloo” but is distinct from the broader movement in that it actively seeks to commit violence, Facebook said in a blog post.
“This is the latest step in our commitment to ban people who proclaim a violent mission from using our platform,” Facebook said.
The social network reported that it removed 220 Facebook accounts and another 95 Instagram accounts, along with 28 pages and 106 groups “that currently comprise the network.”
Facebook also took down more than 400 other groups and over 100 other pages where similar content was posted, according to the California-based social network.
“Officials have identified violent adherents to the movement as those responsible for several attacks over the past few months,” Facebook said.
“These acts of real-world violence and our investigations into them are what led us to identify and designate this distinct network.”
The Boogaloo movement is not organized, and the ideology shares followers with some neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups, as well as with libertarians and anarchists.
Facebook said it first spotted “initial elements” of the movement in 2012 but has only been closely following it since 2019.
“We expect to see adversarial behavior from this network including people trying to return to using our platform and adopting new terminology,” Facebook said.
Few had heard of the Boogaloo movement before this year. But recently, the Justice Department charged one of its followers, California Air Force Sergeant Steven Carrillo, with the drive-by killing of an Oakland police officer during May 29 Black Lives Matter protests.
Carillo is accused of killing another policeman eight days later in an ambush after his van was discovered — laden with weapons and bomb-making materials — near Santa Cruz.
The killings marked the rise of the stridently anti-police and anti-authority movement, which promotes a “boogaloo” — a new civil war.
They came after the May 30 arrest in Las Vegas of three self-styled “Boogaloo bois” who had assembled weapons and Molotov cocktails with the aim of sparking violence during a Black Lives Matter protest.
Other recent arrests include followers in Texas and a supporter in Colorado.