Facebook has placed at least 986 groups on a private list of banned “militarized social movements,” according to internal Facebook documents published by The Intercept. The documents hint at the scale of militia organizing on Facebook — something the company cracked down on in August of 2020.
Militarized social movements are one part of Facebook’s larger “dangerous individuals and organizations” list, which The Intercept published a snapshot of in its entirety. The term refers to armed groups that promote armed conflict, as well as groups that support violence or looting at protests; in practice, it’s apparently composed largely of right-wing militias with some left-wing, anarchist, or generally anti-government organizations.
Facebook’s “dangerous individuals” list also includes white supremacist bands, hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan, and branches of Al Qaeda and other global terrorist organizations. All are banned from maintaining pages, groups, or profiles on the service. Beyond that, the categories are sorted into tiers. Tier 1 includes hate and terror groups, and Facebook users can’t express praise or support for them in any form. Tier 2 includes “violent non-state actors” like armed rebels that can only be praised for nonviolent activities. Militarized social movements are designated as Tier 3, which don’t have comparable restrictions on how users discuss them.