a list of “dangerous organizations” used by its moderators made public

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The American site The Intercept published, Tuesday, October 12, a list of “Dangerous individuals and organizations” used by Facebook moderators. The document, which is not dated, brings together over a hundred pages a little more than 4,000 organizations and personalities, divided into several categories that determine whether these groups and their apology are tolerated or prohibited on the platform. There are three main ones.

The first brings together terrorist, criminal or racist groups considered particularly violent or dangerous. The latter are not only banned from being on Facebook, but any message considered to be in their apology or their advertising must also be deleted, according to the rules sent to the moderation teams consulted by The Intercept.

The list used by Facebook is largely based on classifications from the US government, which maintains its own list of organizations considered terrorist. Unsurprisingly, there are a multitude of small groups affiliated with the Islamic State organization, Al-Qaeda, or Hezbollah. You can also read the names of a handful of neo-Nazi groups, as well as some European underground organizations. The list mentions in particular several Orange paramilitary groups in Ireland and small groups like the real IRA, as well as personalities linked to ETA. Added to all this is a list of criminal groups considered particularly violent, made up mainly of mafias in Latin America – Brazil and Mexico in the lead.

The moderation rules are, on the other hand, a little more flexible for a list of“Violent non-state actors”, which constitute the second category defined by Facebook. This brings together paramilitary organizations carrying out guerrilla actions, including several Syrian and Chechen groups. Moderators are encouraged to tolerate posts that refer to these groups for their nonviolent actions, but to remove any glorification of armed actions.

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Calls to hatred

The third main category brings together groups and individuals who are not directly suspected of violent actions, but whose speech incites violence or hatred. Facebook users in their case are allowed to discuss it broadly, but their posts are flagged to moderators as being of particular risk. Several French groups can be found in this list, including the small group Génération identitaire, dissolved in march, whose Facebook page had was closed in 2018, or the Equality and Reconciliation movement, by Alain Soral, condemned on multiple occasions, whose Facebook page was closed in 2017 ; there are also neo-Nazi or related music groups, including the French group Elsass Korps, dissolved in 2005.

The main revelation of these documents is probably the existence, within these lists, of a category “Armed social movements”. Very detailed, the latter includes several hundred armed groups, all American. Some are linked to the American far right, others to the Boogaloo pro-gun movement; The Intercept sees in this specific classification the proof that Facebook practices a moderation “American-centered” and more tolerant of the American extreme right than of other groups.

An accusation strongly contested by the social network, which says it proceeds to classifications according to the degree of dangerousness of the groups and their behavior. “When American groups meet our definition of a terrorist group, we refer to them as such (this is, for example, the case with The Base, Atomwaffen Division or National Socialist Order [trois groupes néonazis américains]), a company spokesperson told The Intercept. When they instead meet our criteria for organizations that call hate, then we classify them that way, for example the Proud Boys, the Rise Above Movement, or the Patriot Front. “

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