Violent extremist movement ‘boogaloo bois’ reemerges on Facebook: report

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The violent extremist “boogaloo” movement is showing new signs of activity on Facebook, in spite of the social media platform’s ban on the group, according to a new report from the Tech Transparency Project.

Boogaloo groups and individual “boogaloo bois” have increased their activity on Facebook following the FBI’s search of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, the Tech Transparency Project found. 

The boogaloo movement appears to “see this moment as a growth opportunity for their movement” and hopes to “capitalize on the wave of far-right anger at the FBI,” the report said.

In particular, several boogaloo groups on Facebook have been “valorizing” an armed man who tried to breach an FBI field office in Cincinnati soon after the Mar-a-Lago search, according to the report. The man was killed following an hours-long standoff with police.

Even though the Tech Transparency Project saw a resurgence accompanying the Mar-a-Lago search, several boogaloo accounts were created in the spring after President Biden announced efforts to curb gun violence, the report noted.

The accounts appear to be evading Facebook’s detection by using coded keywords and variations of boogaloo like “bogaloo” and “big igloo,” according to the report. The Tech Transparency Project also found several new boogaloo memes, which the movement often uses for recruitment and propaganda.

The “boogaloo bois” are an anti-government extremist group that believes in a coming second U.S. civil war, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Facebook labeled the boogaloo movement a “dangerous organization” and banned it from the platform in 2020.

The movement “appeared to fracture” after the 2020 election and became less active on social media, according to the Tech Transparency Project.

The report criticized Facebook’s apparent lack of response, saying it demonstrates “yet again how the platform fails to deal with extremist activity that violates its policies.”

Facebook’s parent company Meta noted when it first banned the boogaloo movement in 2020, that it was aware the group would likely attempt to “return to using our platform and adopting new terminology.”

This is an adversarial space, with perpetrators constantly trying to find new ways to evade our policies, which is why we work with a number of organizations to flag content and stay ahead of evolving trends,” a Meta spokesperson said on Wednesday. 

“Collaborations like these are only effective when organizations work with us,” the spokesperson added, noting that the Tech Transparency Program did not previously share its research with the company.

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