The Intercept has published in full the list of individuals and organizations blacklisted as “dangerous” by Facebook, after the company had repeatedly refused to make the list public. Part of its “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations” policy launched in 2018, the list attempts to walk the fine line between free speech and incitement of hatred and violence for Facebook’s more than three billion international users. But The Intercept reported that the blacklist’s categories—Hate, Crime, Terrorism, Militarized Social Movements, and Violent Non-State Actors—largely reflect U.S. anxieties and foreign policy values. Of more than 4,000 names, “nearly everyone and everything” on the list has been or is considered a threat to America.
The list also draws discriminatory boundaries around certain marginalized communities, critics say. Its “Terrorism” category, which makes up more than half the list, disproportionately names Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Muslim groups and individuals. Predominantly Black and Latino names are “violent criminal enterprises,” according to the list. It also subjects discussion on largely white militias to far looser restrictions, showing that the company offers “an iron fist for some communities and more of a measured hand for others,” a legal scholar told The Intercept.
Brian Fishman, Facebook's policy director for counter-terrorism and dangerous organizations, tweeted out a response to The Intercept's story, calling it “misleading” and “superficial.” He acknowledged that the blacklist is “not perfect,” but rather an effort to keep “highly risky groups” from organizing violence on Facebook’s platforms. Many groups are included due to legal obligations, partly explaining why the list skews to certain regions, he said.