Mother Jones, “Anarchist Activists Say Facebook Banned Them to Placate the Right”

An anti-fascist protester holds a flag on the Christian Science Plaza, Saturday, July 11, 2020, in Boston. Dozens of demonstrators gathered in counter-protest against an anticipated rally by a right-wing group that never materialized. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Ali Breland, September 2, 2020

Last month, Facebook finally made an announcement that it had been teasing for weeks. The company said that it would begin taking more aggressive measures targeting QAnon and US-based militia, two groups that have increasingly posed domestic terror threats, including by banning some accounts and pages from its site. At the same time, the social media company announced it would target groups whose origins’ lie on the left by taking down anarchist or antifascist accounts that “support violent acts amidst protests.”

The plan’s optics offered a surface-level sort of fairness and evenhandedness, implying that groups espousing violence will be banned regardless of politics, no questions asked. But in practice, according to extremism experts and activists, Facebook’s enactment of this ban on antifascist accounts has been convoluted, unclear, and unjustified by the standards Facebook has laid out.

About a week after the ban was announced, a friend called Kelly C. Wright to let her know that her account had disappeared. With the exception of the removal of a couple of comments she had left on news story posts, Wright says Facebook had never taken action on her account before or given her a warning about breaking their rules. 

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