Facebook bans accounts under new ‘social harm’ policy

AP – Facebook removed almost 150 accounts and pages linked to anti-lockdown demonstrators in Germany, the company announced on Thursday, under a new policy focussed on groups that spread misinformation or incite violence but who don’t fit into the platform’s existing categories of bad actors.

The accounts on Facebook and Instagram spread content linked to the so-called Querdenken movement, a disparate group that has protested lockdown measures in Germany and includes vaccine and mask opponents, conspiracy theorists and some far-right extremists.

Posts from the accounts included one making the debunked claim that vaccines create viral variants and another that wished death upon police officers who broke up violent anti-lockdown protests in Berlin.

The action is the first under Facebook’s new policy focussed on preventing “coordinated social harm,” which company officials said is an attempt to address content from social media users who work together to spread harmful content and evade platform rules.

The Facebook logo appears on a screen in New York’s Times Square. PHOTO: AP