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Facebook deletes groups from German anti-lockdown supporters

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Facebook has announced that it has deleted about 150 accounts, groups, and pages linked to the Querdenken (Lateral Thinking) movement. Querdenken has made a reputation online and offline for being a group of everyday citizens protesting strict COVID-19 restrictions.

“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,” Facebook head of security policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, announced.

The crackdown on the movement was performed on the main platform and Instagram. The accounts of the movement’s founder, Michael Ballweg, were also removed.

The social media giant said that individuals linked with the movement repeatedly violated its policies on hate speech, harassment, health misinformation, and incitement to violence. The company added that the movement was causing “coordinated social harm.”

The company defined the so-called “social harm” campaigns as those that “typically involve networks of primarily authentic users who organize to systematically violate our policies to cause harm on or off our platform.”

Not all accounts linked to Querdenken were removed. Facebook said it would be “continuing to monitor the situation and will take action” when needed.

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