Some of the violent militia groups banned from Facebook have been sneaking around that barrier to take over discussions of a right-wing "convoy" headed toward Washington, D.C.
The nonprofit Tech Transparency Project discovered that paramilitary groups, including the Three Percenters, were actively organizing support for the convoys protesting coronavirus safety measures and other issues, even though some of those groups and individual members have been kicked off social media platforms following the Jan. 6 insurrection, reported The Daily Beast.
“We’ve been concerned about seeing the rhetoric around ‘tyranny’ and ‘civil war’ in a lot of these groups, because the same type of rhetoric and the volume of it in these large Facebook groups precipitated the January 6 attack on the Capitol,” said TPP director Katie Paul.
A Facebook spokesperson said the platform had removed more than 1,000 militarized social movements, which are prohibited on the site, and took further action to root them out after the TPP report's release.
Supportive comments about the convoy, which is based on a similar action in Canada, are not against Facebook rules, but some of the militia groups do violate the site's policies “against militarized social movements and violence-inducing conspiracy networks.”
Individual members of the California State Militia and California State Militia 2nd Regiment, which are both banned by the site, promoted their groups and solicited donations on convoy pages, while a fringe gubernatorial candidate in Pennsylvania openly suggested evading those bans on pages dedicated to the convoys.
“They said, we’re gonna try to use code words and avoid things that could get us banned," said Paul, the TPP director. "By code words, they mean using ‘patriots’ instead of ‘militia,' and then at some point they eventually slip and just start using the word ‘militia.’”