A leaked reproduction of Facebook’s long-concealed “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations” list revealed it includes over 4,000 individuals spanning from terrorists to music groups, which experts said unfairly targets minorities.
Facebook’s DIO list has been used to monitor and censor users who voice support for the given groups. Despite internal recommendations to make the list public, the company has resisted, according to a report by The Intercept that also included Facebook’s “Praise, Support and Representation” moderation guidelines.
Facebook has come under scrutiny following a Wall Street Journal investigation and multiple senate hearings that showed the company is aware of the political and social harms its products cause. Now, lawmakers, educators, and the public are watching Facebook with a critical eye as the company scrambles to alleviate concerns about its platforms. The DIO list reveals Facebook’s strategy to combat political unrest given the company’s role in events like the US Capitol insurrection and ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, The Intercept reported.
Experts told The Intercept that Facebook’s disproportionate focus on Middle Eastern, Black, and Latinx groups and individuals, particularly in its most dangerous tiers, was concerning and perpetuated existing biases against underrepresented communities. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland told the Senate Appropriations Committee, “Specifically those who advocate for the superiority of the white race,” are the greatest domestic threat facing the United States.
Facebook’s Policy Director for Counterterrorism and Dangerous Organizations Brian Fishman elaborated on the reasoning behind the list as well as concerns surrounding its racial imbalance: “We don’t want terrorists, hate groups or criminal organizations on our platform, which is why we ban them and remove content that praises, represents or supports them,” he said. “A team of more than 350 specialists at Facebook is focused on stopping these organizations and assessing emerging threats. We currently ban thousands of organizations, including over 250 white supremacist groups at the highest tiers of our policies, and we regularly update our policies and organizations who qualify to be banned.”