Even After The Plot To Kidnap Gov. Whitmer, Michigan Militant Groups Continue To Thrive On Facebook

A day after the FBI disclosed that organized armed extremists coordinated on Facebook to hatch a terrorist plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, multiple pages that encourage political violence were still active on the social network.

An examination by BuzzFeed News and the Tech Transparency Project, a nonpartisan watchdog group, found at least five such pages on the platform as of Friday morning. Those pages, which in some cases appear to be simply rebranded versions of previously banned organizations, use Facebook to recruit and to promote objectives that at times call for violent uprising.

Facebook announced in August that it was banning right-wing militant, anarchist, and QAnon groups after a series of violent crimes were tied to organizations that used the platform. Since then, the company has removed thousands of groups, and this week announced it had banned all accounts, pages, and groups tied to QAnon, the collective delusion

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Facebook bans all QAnon groups as dangerous amid surging misinformation

A person wearing a t-shirt supportive of QAnon participates in a “Back the Blue” rally in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, U.S. August 9, 2020.

Stephanie Keith | Reuters

Facebook on Tuesday classified the QAnon conspiracy theory movement as dangerous and began removing Facebook groups and pages as well as Instagram accounts that hold themselves out as representatives.

The step escalates an August policy that banned a third of QAnon groups here for promoting violence while allowing most to stay, albeit with content appearing less often in news feeds. Instead of relying on user reports, Facebook staff now will treat QAnon like other militarized bodies, seeking out and deleting groups and pages, the company said in a blog post here.

Since the August restrictions, some QAnon groups have added members, and others used coded language to evade detection, for example referring to “cue” instead of Q.

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Facebook says it will ban QAnon groups

By Barbara Ortutay | Associated Press

OAKLAND — Facebook said it will ban groups that openly support QAnon, the baseless conspiracy theory that paints President Donald Trump as a secret warrior against a supposed child-trafficking ring run by celebrities and “deep state” government officials.

The company said Tuesday that it will remove Facebook pages, groups and Instagram accounts for “representing QAnon” — even if they don’t promote violence. The social network said it will consider a variety of factors to decide if a group meets its criteria for a ban, including its name, the biography or “about” section of the page, and discussions within the page, group or Instagram account.

Mentions of QAnon in a group focused on a different subject won’t necessarily lead to a ban, Facebook said. Administrators of banned groups will have their personal accounts disabled as well.

Less than two months ago, Facebook said it would

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Facebook says it will ban groups that ‘represent’ QAnon

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Facebook said it will ban groups that “represent” QAnon, the baseless conspiracy theory that paints President Donald Trump as a secret warrior against a supposed child-trafficking ring run by celebrities and “deep state’ government officials.

The company said Tuesday that it will remove Facebook pages, groups and Instagram accounts for “representing QAnon” — even if they don’t promote violence. The social network said it will consider a variety of factors to decide if a group meets its criteria for a ban, including its name, the biography or “about” section of the page, and discussions within the page, group or Instagram account.

Mentions of QAnon in a group focused on a different subject won’t necessarily lead to a ban, Facebook said.

Less than two months ago, Facebook said it would stop promoting the group and its adherents, although it faltered with spotty enforcement. It said it would

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Seeking civility in groups as views clash on Facebook

As division roils the country ahead of the US presidential election, Justine Lee is out to “Make America Dinner Again” and foster understanding in the process.

The creator of the private Facebook group by that name faces the challenge of keeping conversation civil at a social network criticized as a cauldron of toxicity.

MADA was started when Lee, who lives in New York’s Bronx borough, and a friend were stunned by the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and began holding dinner parties to bring together people with opposing political viewpoints.

The dinners caught on. After the coronavirus pandemic struck and prevented face-to-face gatherings, MADA went virtual with a Facebook group.

The group has not shied away from hot-button discussion topics including race, police brutality and abortion.

While Facebook relies on automated systems and user reports to filter out unacceptable vitriol, groups have human moderators who can reject posts or

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Facebook has removed more than 6,500 militia groups and pages

Now, just over a month later, we have a better idea at how many takedowns have actually happened as a result of the policy. Brian Fishman, Director of Counterterrorism and Dangerous Organizations at Facebook, said the company had identified more than 300 organizations, and taken down thousands of pages and groups as a result of the updated rules. Fishman didn’t disclose exactly which groups the takedowns were associated with.

The policy came under scrutiny last month after Facebook failed to remove an event page that called for an armed response to protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, despite several users reporting it. Mark Zuckerberg later called it

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National Groups Call on U.S. Federal Health Agency Leaders to Stand Strong for Science Over Politics in the Fight Against COVID-19

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Alliance for Aging Research (Alliance) and 78 other national organizations representing patients, healthcare providers, and multi-stakeholder coalitions signed a letter directed to the leaders of federal health care agencies urging them to rise above the political considerations and focus on providing the American public with information about the well-established guidelines in place to ensure safe and effective COVID-19 prevention, detection, and treatment. Information and decisions that are perceived as anything less than science-based weaken the public’s confidence in research and innovation, and hinder adherence to mitigation efforts. In fact, a recent STAT/Harris poll found 78 percent of Americans worry the COVID-19 vaccine approval process is being driven by politics rather than science. It is this sentiment that federal government health officials must work with trusted partners to change if they intend to curb the deadly spread of COVID-19 and encourage widespread acceptance of

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Push is underway to test COVID-19 vaccines in diverse groups

TAKOMA PARK, Md. (AP) — In front of baskets of tomatoes and peppers, near a sizzling burrito grill, the “promotoras” stop masked shoppers at a busy Latino farmers market: Want to test a COVID-19 vaccine?

Aided by Spanish-speaking “health promoters” and Black pastors, a stepped-up effort is underway around the U.S. to recruit minorities to ensure potential vaccines against the scourge are tested in the populations most ravaged by the virus.

Many thousands of volunteers from minority groups are needed for huge clinical trials underway or about to begin. Scientists say a diverse group of test subjects is vital to determining whether a vaccine is safe and effective for everyone and instilling broad public confidence in the shots once they become available.

The expanded outreach by vaccine researchers and health officials is getting a late start in communities that, because of a history of scientific exploitation and racism, may be

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