- Facebook deleted 150 accounts, pages, and groups associated with Germany’s Querdenken (Lateral Thinking) movement.
- According to Facebook, individuals associated with the Querdenken movement regularly violated the platform’s policies.
- This is the first time Facebook has taken action against so-called “social harm” campaigns.
Facebook’s stand against the Querdenken movement
According to Facebook officials, approximately 150 accounts, pages, and groups associated with Germany’s Querdenken (Lateral Thinking) movement were removed on Sept 17. The campaign gained notoriety by accusing the media and politicians of spreading misinformation about the coronavirus epidemic.
“The people behind this activity used authentic and duplicate accounts to post and amplify violating content, primarily focused on promoting the conspiracy that the German government’s COVID-19 restrictions are part of a larger plan to strip citizens of their freedoms and basic rights,” said Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of security policy.
Both Facebook’s own platform and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, were subject to the restrictions. Domains associated with the movement were barred from being shared by the firm. Accounts of Querdenken founder Michael Ballweg have also been affected.
Facebook will monitor and “take action” if necessary
During anti-lockdown rallies in Germany, the organization drew support from a variety of fringe groups, including members of the far-right. Members of the anti-lockdown campaign assaulted police officers and media at various anti-lockdown rallies.
According to Facebook, individuals associated with the Querdenken movement regularly violated the platform’s policies against disseminating health misinformation, inciting violence, bullying, harassment, and hate speech. Gleicher said the organization was creating “coordinated social harm.”
However, Facebook stated that it was not prohibiting all Querdenken content. According to Gleicher, a Facebook spokesman, the firm was “continue to monitor the issue and will take action” if required.
Deleted from YouTube
This is the first time Facebook has taken action against so-called “social harm” campaigns. According to Gleicher, such campaigns “typically involve networks of primarily authentic users who organize to systematically violate our policies to cause harm on or off our platform.”
YouTube deleted the Querdenken 711 channel in May of this year, citing its parent firm Google for breaching YouTube’s misleading standards.