Facebook announced a sweep to ban some user groups — and it equated violent white supremacist militias with antiracist organizing. On Wednesday, Facebook announced an expansion of its “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy,” removing or restricting hundreds of pages associated with groups that it claims promote violence. Nearly 800 QAnon groups, committed to pernicious disinformation and potentially deadly conspiracy theories, have been removed. Facebook also shut down the pages of far-right militias, like the New Mexico Civil Guard, an armed vigilante organization, whose leaders sport swastika tattoos. Alongside groups openly committed to genocidal white supremacy, which constitute a very real threat to Black and Indigenous communities, as well as other people of color, Facebook also shut down the pages of numerous antifascist, anti-capitalist news, organizing, and information sites. The move follows a pattern now well-established by the Trump administration — and unchallenged by most every mainstream media outlet — that draws indefensible false equivalences between organized, racist fascists, and the antifascists who vigorously oppose them. Among the pages removed were those of antifascist news and research site, It’s Going Down, a media platform that publishes news, analysis, and reports on social struggles, as well as investigative work to expose white supremacist and neo-Nazi networks. Crimethinc, a bastion of left-wing, anarchist publishing and thought since the 1990s, saw its Facebook page removed too. The pages of groups organizing around the ongoing and potent antiracist uprisings were also shut down, including the PNW Youth Liberation Front, a network of youth collectives in the Northwest committed to direct action protest. “Lumping anarchists and anti-fascists together with far-right militias who explicitly support the current administration is a strategic move to muddy the issue,” said a statement from Crimethinc in response to the bans. “This is the same operation that William Barr” — the attorney general — “performed in creating a Department of Justice task force focused on ‘anti-government extremists’ that targets self-proclaimed fascists and anti-fascists alike. In the case of the Department of Justice, this enables them to point to far-right and militia attacks in order to demand resources with which to crack down on those who are on the front lines of defending communities against such attacks.” Both rhetorically and through specific policies, the government has obfuscated and downplayed the threat of white supremacist extremism, while sensationalizing the risks posed by the far left. With its latest bans, Facebook is following this same playbook.
The demonization of antifascists has become a centerpiece of President Donald Trump’s reelection propaganda, which functions both to criminalize dissent and delegitimize Black liberation struggle. Following the intolerable events of the Charlottesville, Virginia, “Unite the Right” rally in 2017, Trump famously praised “very fine” members of the white supremacist coalition and blamed “both sides” for the murderous far-right violence that occurred — a stance that’s since been crystallized in his policies.

via intercept: Facebook’s Ban on Far-Left Pages Is an Extension of Trump Propaganda