Facebook has banned 315 accounts which it said belonged to “Boogaloos” – participants in an extremist movement in the US which believes a second civil war is inevitable or desirable.
At least 10 individuals affiliated with the movement have been accused of serious crimes in the past year.
They include US Air Force sergeant Steven Carrillo, who is charged with murdering a police officer in California, using the George Floyd protests as cover.
Facebook said the “acts of real-world violence and our investigations into them are what led us to identify and designate this distinct network” within the general movement.
The name comes from an internet meme based on the film Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. In the memes “2: Electric Boogaloo” is appended to items or events to suggest there will be a sequel.
In the case of the Boogaloo movement, the event is the American Civil War.
Participants have been present at multiple demonstrations following the police killing of George Floyd, often heavily armed and wearing Hawaiian shirts alongside tactical equipment.
The use of memes and the adoption of the Hawaiian floral-print shirts is a tactic used by the far-right to attract and recruit young men, according to analysts who study extremist movements.
Facebook said the network it proscribed was “actively promoting violence against civilians, law enforcement and government officials and institutions”.
Members of the network were also seeking to “recruit others within the broader Boogaloo movement, sharing the same content online and adopting the same offline appearance as others in the movement to do so”.
“We know the initial elements of the Boogaloo movement began as far back as 2012, and we have been closely following its developments since 2019,” the social media company said.
“We understand that the term has been adopted by a range of anti-government activists who generally believe civil conflict in the US is inevitable.
“But activists are divided over numerous issues, including the goal of a civil conflict, racism and antisemitism, and whether to instigate violent conflict or be prepared to react when it occurs.”
Facebook said it had removed a total of 315 accounts on both its own platform and on Instagram, alongside 28 pages and 106 groups connected to the network.
The company added that it had previously removed over 800 posts linked to the Boogaloo movement which clearly called for violence.
“So long as violent movements operate in the physical world, they will seek to exploit digital platforms,” stated the company, which is currently facing a boycott from advertisers who allege is it profiting by allowing such hate groups on its platforms.