By David Uberti and Rachael Levy 

Facebook Inc. has classified a large segment of the boogaloo movement as a dangerous organization and banned it from its network, in the tech company's broadest move yet against the group.

The company said in a blog post it removed more than 300 Facebook and Instagram accounts and 106 groups tied to a boogaloo-affiliated network "that actively seeks to commit violence." The removals came alongside an additional takedown of 400 groups and 100 pages that hosted content broadly supportive of the boogaloo movement.

Composed mostly of young white males who often call themselves "boogaloo bois," the loose-knit movement grew its ranks in recent years on social media, mainly Facebook.

Its adherents views' are wide-ranging, with a focus on overturning authority, according to researchers who track extremist organizations. Some have supported anti-racism protests against police brutality in recent months, but others are white supremacists who hold antigovernment views, believe strongly in gun rights and traffic in conspiracy theories, researchers said.

The movement appears to have no leader or central structure.

Facebook's ban on Tuesday comes after some employees staged a virtual walkout in early June over the decision to leave up a post about nationwide demonstrations by President Trump that said, "When the looting starts, the shooting starts." Civil rights groups have since criticized Facebook over its approach to hate speech, while several corporations, including Verizon Communications Inc. and Coca-Cola Co., pulled advertising from the platform in protest.

Facebook removed the boogaloo accounts after a targeted investigation by human analysts, officials said. The social-media giant has increasingly turned to the tactic to assess networks that actively try to avoid its automated tools to monitor content.

(More to Come)


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 30, 2020 16:45 ET (20:45 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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