At least two of the three men charged this week with plotting violence at a Las Vegas anti-racism protest participated in "Boogaloo" groups on Facebook, an FBI criminal complaint says.
In response, Facebook is making it harder to find user groups associated with the term "Boogaloo," the company said on Friday. The term has been appropriated by white supremacist accelerationists who want to stoke a "race war" or the collapse of society and government, or some combination of both.
Facebook will no longer recommend such groups to members of similar associations, a spokeswoman for the world's largest social media network said told Joseph Menn at Reuters:
Facebook appeared to have been an important factor for organization. According to the federal complaint, all three indicted men were part of a Nevada Boogaloo Facebook group and met at ReOpen rallies, which were organized on Facebook
— Jay Hart (@JayHart909) June 4, 2020
A series of reports this year by researchers and media have drawn attention to the loose movement and its propagation on social media. In April, an advocacy group called the Tech Transparency Project warned that Boogaloo followers were discussing taking up arms while promoting protests to "liberate" states from coronavirus restrictions.
On May 1, Facebook banned the use of Boogaloo and related terms when they accompany pictures of weapons and calls to action, such as preparing for conflict.
The specific terms Facebook is was acting against are evolving, it said on Thursday. To evade the scrutiny, many have switched to terms such as "Big Igloo" or "Big Luau" while maintaining the same discussions about weaponry, future wars and conspiracy theories.