Starting with the removal of the German anti-lockdown group Querdenken’s pages and Instagram profiles, Facebook has created a new category of “social harm” contributed by legitimate users.
Facebook’s head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher announced the action on Thursday, saying that his team has been working for months to “expand our network disruption efforts so we can address threats that come from groups of authentic accounts coordinating on our platform to cause social harm.”
Gleicher says his group has removed a network of Facebook and Instagram accounts, pages and groups “for engaging in coordinated efforts to repeatedly violate our Community Standards, including posting harmful health misinformation, hate speech and incitement to violence.”
Sharing their domains on Facebook and Instagram has been blocked as well, he added, but noted that “we aren’t banning all Querdenken content.”
There have been multiple mass protests against coronavirus lockdowns in Germany, with the authorities denouncing them as the work of the “far-right,” neo-Nazis and other extremists. While the UN special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer raised concerns about police brutality in dispersing the demonstrations, last month Berlin police responded that violence is “still part of our legal system.