Extremist groups thrive on Facebook despite bans

AP – A new outside report found that Facebook has allowed groups — many tied to QAnon, boogaloo and militia movements — to glorify violence during the 2020 election and in the weeks leading up to the deadly riots on the United States (US) Capitol in January.

Avaaz, a non-profit advocacy group that said it seeks to protect democracies from misinformation, identified 267 pages and groups on Facebook that it said spread violence-glorifying material in the heat of the 2020 election to a combined following of 32 million users.

But despite what Avaaz called “clear violations” of Facebook’s policies, it found that 119 of these pages and groups were still active on the platform as of February 24 and had just under 27 million followers.

Facebook said late Monday that of the 119 that Avaaz found, only 18 “actually violated” Facebook’s policies. Four had already been removed before Monday and Facebook has now taken down the remaining 14.

Facebook acknowledged that its policy enforcement “isn’t perfect”, but said the report distorts its work against violent extremism and misinformation.

Today, Facebook Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai are slated to testify before Congress about extremism and misinformation on their platforms.

The Facebook logo is displayed at a gathering for startup companies at Paris’ Station F. PHOTO: AP