Facebook has made it more difficult to find "Boogaloo"-related user groups. It will no longer recommend such groups to members of similar associations, a Facebook spokeswoman said on Thursday, June 4.
Reuters reported that the company's decision comes after at least two men were charged on Wednesday, June 3, with plotting violence at a Las Vegas anti-racism protest. According to an FBI criminal complaint, these suspects participated in Boogaloo groups on Facebook.
Facebook limits 'Boogaloo' groups after plotting violence charges filed against two supporters
"Boogaloo" refers to a newcomer group that aims to accelerate the US towards a second civil war. Although it is hard to label, it exists largely on the far-right of the scale.
Its members are called "Boogaloo Boys" or "Boogaloo Bois" who is usually seen wearing tactical gear with assault rifles. Reports say they support protesters who face heavily armored police, but others seem to support "extremist ideology." The movement's name may have come from the 1980s film Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo.
Meanwhile, according to Aljazeera, "Electric Boogaloo" has been used to describe things of low quality, especially in social media, and it is not usually used in political or violent manner. However, for some far-right groups, it's a code word for a second civil war, an idea that started around October 2019.
The increasing popularity of Boogaloo
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a Jewish NGO based in the US that tracks the far-right, wrote in a report that various boogaloo-related phrases also emerged this year, including "showing up for the boogaloo," "being boogaloo ready," "when the boogaloo hits," and "bring on the boogaloo."
In April, the advocacy group Tech Transparency Project warned that Boogaloo followers were planning to take up arms while encouraging protests to release coronavirus restrictions.
The group tracked tech companies and found 125 Facebook "boogaloo"-related groups that had attracted thousands of members in the last 30 days. The coronavirus crisis was found as a driving factor for this surge of support.
"Some boogaloo supporters see the public health lockdowns and other directives by states and cities across the country as a violation of their rights, and they're aiming to harness public frustration at such measures to rally and attract new followers to their cause," Tech Transparency Project said in its report.
Also, armed protesters gave out fliers showing "Liberty or Boogaloo" at a protest in Concord, New Hampshire. Last month, Facebook banned the term Boogaloo and related words when used with pictures of weapons and calls to action like preparing for conflict.
However, the social media giant said on Thursday the terms are evolving to avoid scrutiny. Terms like "Big Igloo" or "Big Luau" popped up while keeping discussions about weaponry, future wars, and conspiracy theories.
Researchers also found out that many Boogaloo participants support white nationalist groups or militias while others are gun-rights advocates, anti-government, or just supporters of the Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality.
"Care must be taken when evaluating boogaloo-as-civil-war references," said the ADL adding that some people still use the phrase casually or to mock those who are fanatics of their movement.