Facebook has banned almost 1,000 groups on a leaked private list of ‘Militarised’ social movements, which are further part of the “dangerous individuals and organisations” list prepared by the social network.
Facebook has taken most of the names in the terrorism category directly from the US government, reports The Intercept which first published the Facebook list.
“Nearly 1,000 of the entries in the dangerous terrorism list note a ‘designation source’ of ‘SDGT,’ or Specially Designated Global Terrorists, a sanctions list maintained by the Treasury Department and created by George W. Bush in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks,” the report said on Tuesday.
In several instances, names on Facebook’s list include passport and phone numbers found on the official SDGT list.
“The lists seem to create two disparate systems, with the heaviest penalties applied to heavily Muslim regions and communities,” said Faiza Patel, co-director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s liberty and national security programme, who reviewed the material.
The list suggests that “Facebook — like the US government — considers Muslims to be the most dangerous.”
By contrast, Patel told The Intercept, “Hate groups designated as Anti-Muslim hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center are overwhelmingly absent from Facebook’s lists.”
In a Twitter thread, counterterrorism and dangerous organisations policy director Brian Fishman said that the leaked list was “not comprehensive”.
“Facebook does not want violence organised or facilitated on its platform and the (dangerous individuals and organisations) list is an effort to keep highly risky groups from doing that. It’s not perfect, but that’s why it exists,” he tweeted.
“This is an adversarial space, so we try to be as transparent as possible while also prioritising security, limiting legal risks, and preventing opportunities for groups to get around our rules,” Fishman added.
Facebook’s “dangerous individuals” list also includes white supremacist bands, hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan, and branches of Al Qaeda and other terror groups.
The Facebook categories are divided into tiers. Tier 1 includes hate and terror groups, tier 2 includes “violent non-state actors” like armed rebels and ‘Militarised’ social movements are designated as Tier 3.
In 2020, Facebook identified 600 ‘militarised’ social movements and removed around 2,400 pages and 14,200 groups maintained by them.
Facebook also banned all forms of content related to the radical conspiracy group QAnon.