Facebook has banned thousands of people and groups suspected of being involved in terrorism as part of a massive blacklist known as Dangerous Individuals and Organizations (DIO), which appears to reflect the interests of the U.S. government and military.
According to The Intercept, Facebook's list, a snippet of which was disclosed, reportedly includes well over 4,000 persons and groups falling under categories such as hate, crime, terrorism, militarized social movements, and violent non-state actors.
More than half of the names on the list are alleged foreign terrorists from the Middle East and South Asia. Experts say that the list, as well as Facebook's policy, indicate that the company imposes stricter limitations on marginalized groups.
Facebook has a three-tiered structure for enforcing content that reflects the severity of the company's actions. The most restrictive level, Tier 1, includes terrorist groups, hate groups, and criminal organizations.
The least restrictive level, Tier 3, includes military social movements, like "mostly right-wing American anti-government militias, which are virtually entirely white," the report said.
In a series of tweets, Brian Fishman, Facebook's policy director for counterterrorism and dangerous organizations, argued that The Intercept's version of the list isn't complete, and that the list is updated on a regular basis.
"Defining & identifying Dangerous Orgs globally is extremely difficult. There are no hard & fast definitions agreed upon by everyone," Fishman said.
Fishman also highlighted that terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda have hundreds of individual entities, many of which are classified as separate entries in order to "facilitate enforcement," skewing the number of entities from a specific region.
He said more than 250 white supremacist organizations are on the Tier 1 list.
The Intercept classed 53.7% of the list as terrorism, 23.3% as militarized social movements, 17% as hate groups, 4.9% as criminals, and a miniscule 1% as violent non-state actors. When Facebook identifies a DIO, as The Verge points out, it can have a huge and widespread impact, since thousands of groups and pages might be banned.
The DIO list appears to take a lot of its inspiration from the State Department's list of officially sanctioned terrorist organisations, which contains a long list of people and organizations with tangential ties to global terrorism, but is largely devoid of white supremacists.
See The Intercept's full list, as well as rules for Facebook moderators when imposing limitations here.