Facebook says it has removed 220 "Boogaloo" groups from its social network, and 95 from its fully-owned subsidiary Instagram.
The announcement, this morning NZT, came as Ford, Clorox and Denny's joined an ad boycott by companies who want Facebook to do more to combat hate content.
Ford says it will halt Facebook ads for 30 days. Denny's ban is open-ended; Clorox says December would be the soonest it might restart advertising on the social network.
They join Coca-Cola, VW, Pfizer, Diageo, Unilever, Levi's, Reebok, Starbucks and others who have already pulled ads from Facebook. According to the Wall Street Journal, Starbucks was Facebook's sixth largest advertiser in 2019, spending some US$94.86m ($138.4m) on the social network.
The social network is also being pressured by a coalition of institutional investors that includes the NZ Super Fund.
Facebook's move to ban the Boogaloo extremist movement comes one month after US federal officials alleged the anti-government network's adherents used the platform to plan the murder of a federal agent.
The social media giant said it removed 220 Boogaloo Facebook groups and 95 Instagram accounts that violated its policies against organised violence. It said 400 additional groups that were tangentially associated with the movement would be taken down, too.
"Today we are designating a violent U.S.-based anti-government network as a dangerous organization and banning it from our apps. This network uses the term boogaloo but is distinct from the broader and loosely-affiliated boogaloo movement because it actively seeks to commit violence," a Facebook said in a blog post.
In May, US federal officials alleged that Steven Carrillo killed a federal security officer during protests in Oakland, California, against the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police. Carrillo allegedly plotted the attack with a man he met in a Boogaloo Facebook group and aimed to use protesters to "support our own cause" of a second Civil War.
The Boogaloo is a heavily armed, mostly conservative-libertarian militia movement with extreme anti-government views that advocates for a violent uprising targeting mostly law enforcement. The movement, which has strong ties to current and former military members, grew to tens of thousands of followers since January, mostly in Facebook groups, according to an NBC report.
Facebook said although today was the first time it had removed Boogaloo groups, it had previously taken down more than 800 posts by members of the movement that violated its policies. It continued to expand its efforts to combat hate content.
Facebook earlier drew flak for failing to follow Twitter in labelling tweets by US President and other politicians that promoted hate content or were factually incorrect. On Saturday, Facebook said it would begin labelling all posts by politicians that violated its content policies.
And Facebook says it will now forbid advertisements that claim specific groups of people pose threats to the physical safety, health or survival of others.
The social network is also making a fresh attempt to clamp down on fake news, saying it will now prioritise "original news" over "engaging news" in people's feeds.
And yesterday Facebook also agreed to an audit by the Media Rating Council over its approach to hate speech.
By a New York Times count, some 300 advertisers have now boycotted Facebook. Many are big-spending multinationals, which will hurt the social network. However, the Times also notes that small businesses account for 70 per cent of Facebook's ad revenue. All up, Facebook makes 98 per cent of its money from advertising.
Fake ads persist
Beyond concerns about the environment their genuine ads are appearing, companies like McDonalds, PakNSave owner Foodstuffs have had to suffer fake ads placed by fraudsters running coupon scams (a "McDonalds" effort ran on June 25), while individuals including Richie McCaw and Mike Hosking have had their unauthorised images used in social media ads for dubious get-rich schemes.