Ban Thinly Veiled White Supremacy Events on Facebook
Ban Thinly Veiled White Supremacy Events on Facebook
Why this petition matters
Mark Zuckerberg's "operational mistake" of not removing the Kenosha Guard militia event cost two BLM protesters their lives, and a third, his arm. The event, which called for carrying weapons to defend people and property, was reported at least 455 times to Facebook as a credible threat to the public. Despite this, Facebook failed to remove the event and ban its creator, and consequently a 17 year old self-appointed vigilante shot three people, killing two. It is not unreasonable to conclude that Facebook helped facilitate these murders.
Similarly, the recent far-right cruise rally that invaded Portland, Ore. was also openly promoted on Facebook and that event resulted in the death of two people; one person affiliated with Patriot Prayer shot at the protest, and the alleged shooter, a BLM protester, killed by law enforcement a few days later.
Despite these senseless killings, Facebook continues to allow dozens of similar events to be promoted on the platform. Usually the far-right organizers frame their events as “patriotic” flag waves, pro-Trump or pro-police rallies, but the undeniable fact of the matter is that these events are organized to attract violent members of known hate groups, like the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Patriot Prayer and "Back the Blue" types. Facebook has long been criticized for allowing white nationalist groups to openly organize and recruit on the platform with calls from both senators and advertisers to curb its white supremacist problem.
There are undeniable connections between recognized white supremacist hate groups, like the Proud Boys, and thinly veiled hate groups, like Back the Blue. For example, Bonnie-Clyde Bailey, who is friends with Proud Boy organizer Alan Swinney and was photographed with a paintball gun on her way to the Portland "flag wave" on August 22, is also behind several Back the Blue groups in rural Oregon, in cities like Sandy, Gresham, Estecada and numerous others. (She’s been very busy!)
We also know, because the FBI has been warning us for decades, that neo-nazis and other white supremacists strategically infiltrate police departments all over the nation. For obvious reasons, a police badge lets them carry out their hate filled agenda more effectively thanks to the “blue wall of silence,” qualified immunity and other protections for law enforcement. It is no coincidence that Black people are disproportionately targeted and killed by a proven-to-be-racist police force.
We also know, thanks to analysis by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, that far-right white supremacist violence poses the greatest domestic terrorism threat to the American public. Their study, based on almost 900 politically-motivated plots and murders from 1994 to May 2020, found that far-right wing violence was responsible for 100% of murders by domestic extremists, like those affiliated with the above mentioned groups.
It's therefore reasonable and logical to conclude that the combination of far-right ideology and “Back the Blue” sympathy is dangerous and even deadly. Many of these people consider themselves "accelerationists" and want to wage a civil war/race war in order to create a white ethno-state. These pro-police, pro-Trump rallies are nothing but thinly veiled white supremacist events designed to escalate tensions, incite violence and potentially lead to murder. These events are meant to attract violent vigilantes and armed paramilitaries who like to "cosplay" as soldiers or federal agents and act as if they are law enforcement. In fact, these groups are often on friendly terms with police and often escorted, guarded or aided in some way by law enforcement.
Case in point: the “Trucks for Trump” rally shows a photo of a homeless encampment in Portland with the false claim that it's the “Portland Antifa Camp” and its street location. On social media, various hate group members, who appointed themselves as guardians of law and order, promoted the event and their intent to "clear out" the camp on no one's authority but their own vigilantism. This event was reported to Facebook as inciting violence against the houseless community, some of who are minorities with disabilities and mental health conditions that make them a "protected group" by Facebook's own community standards, yet Facebook determined that it didn't violate community standards and so, the event still remains on the platform identifying the location of this vulnerable population.
If Facebook is truly serious about taking a stand against white supremacy, hatred and racism, it is not enough to simply review the language in the event description when determining if an event incites violence, spreads hate or goes against other community standards. White supremacists routinely use coded language and dog whistles to signal their intentions and know how to technically not violate Facebook policies and frequently evade bans. However, a quick glance at other platforms that allow hate speech, baseless conspiracy theories, antisemitism and calls for violence, like Parler, reveals the sinister intent of these events with crystal clarity.
Anyone with even the most rudimentary awareness of our current incendiary political climate can plainly see that these rallies are meant to intimidate, harass and physically harm BLM protesters and supporters in order to create a repressive, fearful climate for minorities and the left.
Therefore, we the undersigned demand that Facebook recognize its responsibility to the public and do more than look at mere words and "free speech" when concerned users report these types of right-wing rallies as inciting hate and violence in their communities.
If Zuckerberg does not want more blood on his hands, then Facebook must acknowledge the violent and even deadly intentions of these paramilitary, vigilante far-right organizers for what they are - white supremacist hate in action - and immediately ban these individuals from the platform and remove all related events, groups and pages.
Lives are on the line here. And yes, Black lives matter and always will.