Right-wing content that was previously banned from Facebook has found its way back onto the platform thanks to a simple rebranding effort.
A new report from the Tech Transparency Project has found that election fraud conspiracies, such as “Stop the Steal,” and violent pro-Trump militia groups are making their way back on to Facebook under the guise of the “Patriot Party” movement.
Patriot Party pages and groups have the capability to grow fast. According to the report, one group simply called “Patriot Party” was able to amass 105,000 members in just 8 days since the group was created.
While Facebook did take down that group, the Tech Transparency Project found 51 Facebook groups and 85 Facebook pages promoting the Patriot Party that were still active at the time of the report. In total, these pages and groups currently have more than 120,000 members and likes.
The Tech Transparency Project is a big tech research initiative organized by the watchdog group Campaign for Accountability.
Patriot Party pages and groups have not only continued to promote the Stop the Steal conspiracy, they’re also helping users organize travel arrangements to related events. Members of these pages and groups also “openly engage in militia recruitment” and advocate for a violent overthrow of the government.
Conversation in Patriot Party groups published on the day of the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol promoted martyrdom, civil war, and gun violence.
The report also found that Facebook was promoting Patriot Party pages and groups via its recommendations algorithm, broadcasting their existence to a larger audience.
Patriot Party promoters have adopted a lion’s head logo, which has origins going back to the white supremacist website, VDARE.
The report points out that one of the infamous Capitol rioters seen in photos carrying zip ties through the Congressional chambers had posted an image of the Patriot Party lion head logo on his profile.
President Donald Trump began floating the idea of a right-wing alternative to the Republican Party following his electoral loss last year.
While recent reports claim that Trump has now backed away from his third-party endeavor, some of Trump’s most fervent supporters seem to have gone ahead with the idea and started pushing the “Patriot Party.”
Facebook has previously cracked down on election fraud conspiracies, specifically removing Stop the Steal content, on its platforms earlier this year. The company has also banned “dangerous” groups, including many U.S.-based militia organizations, which promote rhetoric that can lead to “potential violence.” Perhaps the most sweeping example is Facebook’s take down of various profiles, pages, and groups belonging to the Boogaloo Boy movement.
It’s clear that those looking to push conspiracies and violent content will continue to find — in this case, the Patriot Party brand — even on platforms that claim to prohibit these types of content.
ที่มา : Mashable