After President Donald Trump called on Americans to “LIBERATE VIRGINIA” on Twitter last month, a number of Facebook groups have emerged in solidarity with Trump and against Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s draconian lock down policies.
According to a Bloomberg report, these “Facebook groups focused on violent anti-government uprisings.”
To get their message across, these groups are exploiting loopholes in Facebook anti-violence policies — using satire, code words and other tactics that mask their motives, according to experts who follow fringe groups on social media. One of the more common such phrases is “boogaloo,” which can refer to a kind of music but more recently has come to describe a pending civil war.
Because of this allegedly insurrectionist behavior that is being encouraged online, Facebook currently faces unique challenges.
Bloomberg highlighted one of these challenges:
Facebook’s efforts to fight everything from Covid-19 misinformation to animal trafficking have been made more difficult by the company’s push into more private, encrypted communication, which can make some illicit activity almost impossible to detect — a trade-off that Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said he’s willing to accept. And though Facebook has delayed other content moderation to focus on pandemic-related material, Facebook groups have continued to promote fake cures and protests to reopen states that could violate social distancing mandates.
One movement that Facebook higher-ups are worrying about is the so-called “boogaloo” movement.
Facebook’s challenge has been highlighted by the lockdown protests — a fringe movement that the “boogaloo” and other far-right groups have leveraged as a recruiting tool, experts say. Between February and April, the number of boogaloo Facebook groups grew from about 75 to 125, according to an April report by the Tech Transparency Project. Membership doubled to 70,000 in a monthlong period ending in late April, according to the report.
“The platforms’ own practices and design create these loopholes that allow disinformation conspiracy theories and radicalizations to exist. What you’re seeing with boogaloo is an example of that,” stated Karen Kornbluh, senior fellow and director at the Digital Innovation and Democracy Initiative at the German Marshall Fund. “They are able to pretty clearly violate the terms of service through such simple, obvious strategies, which shows that there’s a lot of tightening up that can be done.”
On May 1, Facebook and Instagram updated their violence and incitement policy to ban the usage of booglaoo terms when they are used along with statements and images portraying armed violence, according to a spokeswoman.
Broadly speaking, Facebook is stepping up its removal of content “connected to organized hate” per a May 12 blog post. The social media company claimed that it removed 4.7 million pieces of said content from January through March. This represented a removal of 3 million more pieces of content than it conducted in the previous quarter.
Facebook is chasing ghosts.
Boogaloo is mostly used in jest among people in right-wing spaces. Yes, there is political discontent in America, but there’s no appetite for insurrection.
Facebook should watch out for actual incitements to violence, but they won’t find much of it that presents a credible threat among the boogaloo crowd.
Southern Baptist Convention Reverses Course on Name Change After BLP Reporting
They say they’re not changing their name.
The Southern Baptist Convention has sought to dispel reporting from Big League Politics on the organization’s planned name change, arguing that the institution isn’t formally changing its name.
To correct multiple inaccurate reports, “We Are Great Commission Baptists” is the 2021 Annual Meeting THEME.
The GCB descriptor was approved in 2012 for churches to use if it would be helpful in their local context.
The Southern Baptist Convention remains our official name.
— SBC Executive Committee (@SBCExecComm) September 17, 2020
But a close look at the American Christian church’s plans relating to its name reveal that it’s played with the idea far more seriously than they’re making it seem.
Reports of a name change first emerged in a Washington Post article published on Tuesday. SBC President JD Greear told the Post that “hundreds of churches” affiliated with the denomination had “committed” to using the phrase “Great Commission Baptist” as an alternative to the denomination’s longtime moniker. The change would come as Greear touts his support of the Black Lives Matter, although he’s been careful in pointing out he doesn’t support any formal organization related to the movement. Greear also is renaming the church he personally pastors with the term.
The SBC’s 2021 convention will also organize under the motto of “We Are Great Commission Baptists.” Sounds a lot like a name change, even if the SBC’s leadership is steadfastly maintaining it isn’t.
The name ‘Great Commission Baptist’ is theologically sound in the Christian religion, but it’s somewhat questionable that the organization’s leader appears to be emphasizing it at a moment in which political correctness is making its entryism into many Christian churches and organizations.
It seems as if the organization’s figurehead is keen to present himself as a liberal-style suburban Evangelical to the Washington Post, but he changed his tune quite quickly when the rank and file membership of Southern Baptist churches learned that he was promoting the idea of a name change.
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