Facebook executives have claimed they are restricting content to prevent “civil unrest.” But Facebook has repeatedly censored or banned groups on the right while allowing reportedly violent Antifa factions and left-wing militia organizations.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained his concerns about upcoming violence in an early September interview with Axios: "I think we need to be doing everything that we can to reduce the chances of violence or civil unrest in the wake of this election." He then went on to claim: "We're trying to make sure that we do our part to make sure that none of this is organized on Facebook.”
Yet, violent left-wing organizations still remain. Facebook has allowed Antifa to organize on pages. In one particularly foul example, an Antifa page administrator openly fantasized about assassinating President Donald Trump. One administrator for Western New York Anti-Fascist Action wrote in a comment that assassinations of American presidents have “happened not once, not twice, but four times already.” This was written in the comments section alongside a meme showing a bounty hunter character from the Disney series The Mandalorian with the caption: “Literally everyone when they hear about the $80m bounty Iran put on Trump.” Western New York Anti-Fascist Action is a prime example because it frequently posts about political violence, whether by Molotov cocktails or guillotines.
Allowing reportedly destructive left-wing protestors to organize on Facebook has serious consequences. Fourteen days into the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, there had already been 19 deaths, Forbes reported in early June. Fox News illustrated that “In Minneapolis, costs related to the protests could hit higher than $500 million. In Portland, Ore., nearly 80 nights of destruction have caused the liberal locale $23 million and counting.” The same article also described how rioters had “torched” a police precinct, and that “At least 150 Minneapolis police officers say they are suffering from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or other injuries.” The article made the critical point that at least “400 businesses” had been damaged in Minneapolis alone.
Other Antifa organizations, such as Rose City Antifa, have been called out by The Washington Post for allegedly assaulting Post Millennial editor-at-large Andy Ngo. Other groups, such as Antifa-related activist organization “All Out DC” reportedly spread posters with the personal information of Fox News host Tucker Carlson, in an effort to “Block the Alt-Right.” Smash Racism DC allegedly broke down Carlson’s door and threatened his wife as well. Both pages remain untouched on Facebook.
Facebook also allowed Shut Down DC and Sunrise DC to organize a protest via a Facebook event page that listed U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham’s (R-SC) purported address and called upon supporters to protest at his house.
Research also found:
- Facebook Announced That It Would Remove QAnon and Antifa: Facebook’s October 6 update declared that “Starting today, we will remove any Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts representing QAnon, even if they contain no violent content.” The blog further explained that this harder stance came in response to actions “tied to different forms of real world harm” that are not directly violent such as spreading conspiracies based on misinformation. But instead of removing both Antifa and QAnon, Facebook seemed to focus mostly on QAnon. Antifa still remains.
- Far-Left Militia, Even Targeted By the Anti-Conservative SPLC, Have an Active Presence on Facebook: Facebook updated its Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy on August 19 to include “US-based militia organizations” among those not allowed to operate on its platform. Nonetheless, many black militia organizations, considered violent extremists by the anti-conservative Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), remained on the platform until TechWatch alerted Facebook. Once alerted to these organizations by TechWatch, Facebook took down many of the accounts, but others still remain on the platform. Notably, accounts belonging to the heavily armed “Not Fu*king Around Coalition” (NFAC) – a self-described black militia – had been flagged by TechWatch and reported to Facebook. Facebook, despite the platform’s policy explicitly prohibiting militarized social movements, has not removed all such pages and groups. Currently, two groups with the NFAC name were flagged by TechWatch and remain on Facebook, along with numerous other unrelated black militia accounts. A NFAC Hashtag page also remains on Facebook owned Instagram.
- Antifa Continues to Break Facebook Rules, Cause Damage, and Dox Republicans: Facebook announced that, in regards to “militia organizations and those encouraging riots, including some who may identify as Antifa,” it had removed “over 980 groups, 520 Pages and 160 ads from Facebook. We’ve also restricted over 1,400 hashtags related to these groups and organizations on Instagram.” Yet pages were allowed to dox Sen. Graham recently without any suspension or ban. Rose City Antifa, a group condemned by major media, continues to flourish without censure.
- Facebook Has Been Vigilant About Removing Other Militia Groups: Facebook reported in a blog post that it had removed 220 Facebook accounts, 95 Instagram accounts, 28 Pages and 106 groups belonging to a right-of-center libertarian militia. The post added that Facebook removed over 400 other groups and over 100 other Pages for violating its Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy. In September, a video gaming group was mistaken for a militia and taken down as well. “This is what censorship in the US looks like! When @Facebook cant tell the difference from video games and real life. We just lost 2 years of lore and pictures,” the gamers tweeted.
Damage Caused by Far-Left Groups
Left-wing Antifa groups, militia and other far-left groups have caused millions of dollars of damage and real-world harm to many people. The New York Post estimated the damage amid the recent George Floyd protests could cost insurance companies anywhere from between $1 billion and $2 billion.
Even after being contacted about what major media describe as violent groups such as Rose City Antifa and foreign political interference groups such as far-left Canadian organization Adbusters, Facebook has proven that it has not followed through on its commitment to reduce political unrest amidst the 2020 election.
9 Antifa Pages with Thousands of Followers on Facebook
Antifa (short for “anti-fascist”) protestors are infamous for causing civil unrest, and Rose City Antifa is one of their most prominent examples.
The Media Research Center found 9 separate Antifa organizations, despite platform rules, that have garnered a grand total of 45,048 Facebook user likes. These pages discussed disturbing things. One page discussed guillotines and Molotov cocktails, while another showed images of burnt corpses. Yet another openly discussed the potential assassination of Trump. The pages that have shared the addresses of figures like Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Sen. Graham (R-SC) also remain on the platform.
Antifa’s reported violence has made headlines for months because of ongoing political unrest and rioting in places like Portland and Seattle. One recent death made waves in America’s news cycle. “A statement from the [U.S.] Marshals Service confirmed that [Michael] Reinoehl was wanted as a prime suspect in the killing of 39-year-old Aaron ‘Jay’ Danielson, who was shot in the chest Saturday night,” CBS News reported. Reinoehl had described himself in a social media post as “100% ANTIFA,” and then reportedly engaged in an altercation with police to the point where he himself was killed.
Rose City Antifa’s alleged reputation for political violence has been reported on by Politico, The Washington Times, and The Washington Post. The Post featured a photo captioned: “Unidentified Rose City Antifa members beat up Andy Ngo, an independent journalist.”
Rose City Antifa posted praise of when journalist Andy Ngo claimed he was beaten on June 29, 2019, to the point of claiming to have suffered a brain injury. “[M]ilkshakes” were reportedly loaded with quick-drying cement and used at some of the Portland demonstrations.
The Washington Times reported that “Project Veritas, known for its hidden-camera investigations, released in June undercover footage of a Rose City Antifa training session in Portland that included tips on weapons and tactics, including eye-gouging.”
Rose City Antifa’s pinned post on its Facebook page cautioned its followers not to plan to engage in specifically criminal behavior while on its page. It did not discourage such actions, merely the appearance on its page:
“DO NOT discuss criminal activity or make any action plans on our Facebook wall. You should never make plans with a stranger on Facebook to do this work. Even trying to sort out ride shares, or similar is very unsafe on here. Undoubtedly enemies will fish around with posts of that nature so be wary.”
Antifa organizations still active on the platform include, but are not limited to: Smash Racism Raleigh, Smash Racism DC (note use of Antifa in its URL), Oxford Anti-Fascists, Midlands Anti-Fascist Network (a group that also lists purported affiliated Antifa pages on its about page), North East Anti-Fascists 2 , Western New York Anti-Fascist Action, Antifascist Austin, Grand Rapids Anti-Fascist Action, and Hoosier Anti-Racist Movement.
The Western New York Anti-Fascist page has many memes alluding to violence. These range from images featuring Molotov cocktails to guillotines. One image mentioned the price of making a guillotine and then observed that “Delta’s CEO made $13.2 million dollars last year.” It followed that comment up by stating, “Get outside with your buddies, share some brews-sounds like fun.” Another image showed a progression of increasingly violent images, including: eggs, milkshakes, bricks, molotov cocktails and guillotines, with a hand marking “You are Here” just before the brick. Like many Antifa pages, it openly calls for violence against “Nazis” with phrases such as “Punch More Nazis” and “Nazi Jaws Don’t Matter.” One critical image shows that when these activists call for violence against “Nazis” they are actually describing their political enemies in general, from Confederacy-sympathizers to police supporters and ultimately to capitalists.
The rhetoric openly calling for the deaths of the wealthy is remarkably brazen, such as claiming: “The only thing billionaires should be running for is their lives.” The page openly disdains criticism of violence against “fascists” by mocking centrist intellectuals for thinking that “Antifa’s violent tactics against fascism make them just as bad as fascists.” The page’s retort suggested, “Imagine being opposed to anti-fascists and somehow still thinking you’re not on the side of fascists.” Another meme nods at “decapitating billionaires to dismantle capitalism.”
If that weren’t bad enough, the same page has openly mused about assassinating Trump by sharing a meme featuring a bounty hunter from Star Wars, alongside the phrase: “Literally everyone when they hear about the $80m bounty Iran put on Trump.” This may seem innocuous until the page author(s) responded to a comment that suggested the possibility of presidential assasasination is absurd by writing: “imagine casually saying this without even considering that it’s happened not once, not twice, but four times already.”
The Hoosier Anti-Racist Movement or HARM, posted a meme calling for a “Trans Day of Vengeance.” The meme came with an image of a hand pointing a knife. On June 4, this same page posted an image of advice for rioters featuring a Molotov cocktail alongside phrases such as “NEVER SNITCH, EVER” and other advice about how to hide activity. On June 27, the page posted a satirical meme about an Antifa Assault Bus featuring masked soldiers shooting guns at enemy soldiers. The profile image of the page appears to show a burnt corpse alongside the words “GOOD NIGHT, WHITE PRIDE.”
Facebook’s Community Standards specifically state in its “Violence and Incitement” “Do not post” section that users should not post “Any content containing statements of intent, calls for action, or advocating for high or mid-severity violence due to voting, voter registration, or the outcome of an election.” It should be noted that Antifa activists specifically ran rampant in response to the 2016 election on the day of Trump’s inauguration in 2017. Mr. Zuckerberg’s concern about the 2020 election’s aftermath indeed is relevant here.
All Out DC
An Antifa-related activist organization called “All Out DC” reportedly spread posters with the personal information of Fox News host Tucker Carlson, along with other free speech figures, in an effort to “Block the Alt-Right.”
The page’s poster announced an upcoming rally on July 6 along with Carlson’s face and personal information. The caption labeled him as a “racist with a huge following and platform” who “uses it to promote racist dogwhistles.”
Carlson’s home has been targeted by far-left activists before. In November 2018, a small crowd of Antifa activists rallied outside his D.C. residence chanting phrases such as “Tucker Carlson, we will fight. We know where you sleep at night!” As USA Today wrote in 2018, Carlson said that far left activists broke his door in their 2018 attack.
Facebook is very clear in its Community Standards that users “should not post personal or confidential information about others without first getting their consent.”
NFAC, or the “Not Fucking Around Coalition,” is a self-described militia made up of heavily armed black-separatists (also called Black Nationalists). The organization gained notoriety in the last year for its large showings of force amidst civil unrest in 2020. The organization of unknown size had descended upon protests in groups reportedly ranging from a couple hundred to a thousand members, all dressed in black and donning rifles and tactical gear. NFAC has faced off and attempted to provoke police and other militias. While Facebook removed a handful of groups and pages associated with NFAC and other black-separatist movements, a few still remain.
TechWatch reached out to Facebook and asked why NFAC was still allowed on the platform despite its policy explicitly prohibiting militarized social movements. Facebook reviewed several examples provided by TechWatch of NFAC-affiliated groups and pages, along with other self-described black militias still active on the platform. This led to many of them getting removed. Still, some NFAC-related groups and self-described black militias and black nationalist groups and pages remain on the platform, including accounts for the New Black Panther Party described by the SPLC as “virulently racist.” Several of these accounts provide avenues for new members to join and other messages aimed at recruitment, pictures of weapons and NFAC rallies, calls to engage police officers with “WHATEVER Force Is Necessary,” and avenues to provide monetary support.
“Black Nationalist hate groups espouse hatred toward whites, the LGBT community, and Jews,” the anti-conservative SPLC wrote in a report about the movement’s resurgence. “Black Nationalists have also advocated for a separate territory for African Americans within the country (similar to white nationalists who argue for a white homeland in the Pacific Northwest).”
Many details about NFAC remain unknown, including its size, funding and how long it has been around. NFAC’s purported founder has said the group is made up of primarily former military veterans who, much like the Black Nationalist movement, wish to set up an autonomous section of the U.S. for black individuals to govern themselves. “We are all ex-military. We are all very disciplined. We are all expert shooters. We don’t want to talk no more. We don't want to negotiate. We don't want to sing songs. We don't bring signs to a gunfight. We are an eye-for-an-eye organization.” NFAC’s purported founder said in a video.
Even the liberal media cannot ignore the potential of black separatist militias’s activism as a disaster waiting to happen. In two separate incidents injuries were recorded at NFAC rallies. CNN described one confrontation where “Shots were fired at the event when a NFAC member dropped his weapon and accidentally injured three other NFAC members with buckshot.” In a separate incident, a man was reportedly arrested for shooting himself with what was alleged to be an illegally possessed firearm during an NFAC protest in Louisiana. NFAC has denied this individual is a member of its organization. Facebook’s policy also prohibits organizations that have “individual followers with patterns of violent behavior.”
NFAC members seem to be swarming at confederate memorials, eager for a fight, as CNN later explained:
“‘The NFAC also marched on a Confederate memorial in Stone Mountain, Georgia, in July. With some members dressed in black paramilitary uniforms and carrying ammunition belts, they looked like an updated version of the Black Panthers.’”
The same article recounted how one member blasted a challenge in his megaphone:
“‘“I don't see no White militia, the Boogie [Boogaloo] boys, the Three Percenters, and all the rest of these scared-ass rednecks,” the man said as he cradled a rifle in his lap. “We here, where the f**k you at? We're in your house.”’”
ShutDown DC and Sunrise DC
Pages that targeted Sen. Graham were left unscathed, despite doxxing him.
“Protesters on Monday gathered outside South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham's house to ‘wake him up’ over his push to quickly replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away Friday,” Newsweek summarized on September 21. Facebook had allowed both Shut Down DC and Sunrise DC to organize the protest via a Facebook event page. The event page that listed Graham’s purported address and called upon supporters to protest at Sen. Graham’s house has since been deleted. Meanwhile, both organizations are still allowed to remain active on the platform.
When contacted and asked why the event was allowed to remain on the platform, a Facebook spokesperson merely replied by sharing Facebook’s community standards on “Bullying and Harassment.” Facebook then wrote, “Specifically: ‘Threatening to release an individual's private phone number, residential address, or email address,’” and provided no further context.
Liberals panic about “election interference” from Russia, but ignore interference from a neighboring country. Adbusters, with 119,517 likes, had initially called for a “siege” of the White House to occur September 17. It stated in a post: “Is it a beautiful jam? A civic exorcism? A spectacular sayonara party for Dear Donald? All of the above, absolutely — but let us not ignore the dark forces also at work.”
This organization’s page has been allowed to remain active despite the fact that Facebook has specifically promised that it will crack down on “foreign interference.” The social media giant explained in a company blog that it has shut down entire networks that “targeted the US, North Africa and Latin America.”