Facebook Increasingly Suppresses Political Movements It Deems Dangerous
After the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, far-right activists launched an online campaign to form what they called a Patriot Party as an alternative to the Republican Party.
Facebook Inc. worked to kill it, citing information it said showed the movement was being pushed by white nationalists and self-styled militias who had worked to instigate the riot, according to internal company documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Facebook engineers made it harder for organizers to share Patriot Party content, restricted the visibility of groups connected to the movement and limited “super-inviters” from recruiting new adherents, according to a March review.
“We were able to nip terms like Patriot Party in the bud before mass adoption,” said another memo.
The surgical strike was part of a strategy Facebook adopted early this year to stop what it calls “harmful communities” from gaining traction on its platform before they spread too far. Rather than just taking action against posts that violate its rules, or that originate with actors such as Russia-based trolls, Facebook began putting its thumb on the scale against communities it deemed to be a problem. In April, based on the same policy, it took aim at a German conspiracy movement called Querdenken.
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