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An armed civilian stands in the streets of Kenosha during third day of protests over a police shooting. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

After initially taking no action on militia pages organizing an armed counter-protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Facebook said Wednesday that the pages and related comments violate a just-enacted policy that imposes stricter limits on QAnon, militia and other extremist groups.

Why it matters: Facebook's handling of the issue raises fresh question about its ability and willingness to enforce policies in time to prevent violence rather than after the fact.

Driving the news:

  • As first reported by The Verge on Wednesday, Facebook received complaints about a group called Kenosha Guard, which encouraged "a call to arms" and comments urged supporters to come "locked and loaded." Their event was a reaction to widespread protests in the city after police shot Jacob Blake.
  • Facebook initially took no action on complaints about the page and specific comments, but then took down the group on Wednesday, saying that a more thorough review found it had violated the new policy.
  • As is standard after a mass shooting, Facebook also took down pages belonging to the accused shooter.

Between the lines: The issue is complicated by a number of factors, including the fact that the militia policy was only put in place last week.

What they're saying: Facebook notes that the small team focused on this issue did not review the initial complaints about the group and that it has yet to find evidence the shooter saw or was motivated by the Facebook group's posting.

  • "At this time, we have not found evidence on Facebook that suggests the shooter followed the Kenosha Guard Page or that he was invited on the Event Page they organized," the company said in a statement. "However, the Kenosha Guard Page and their Event Page violated our new policy addressing militia organizations and have been removed on that basis.”

Color of Change, meanwhile, blasted Facebook in a statement, saying that far-right militia and white nationalist groups continue to organize, communicate and recruit new members on the social network.

  • "We have long warned that Facebook’s cultivation of white supremacy and hate groups on its platform is a deadly threat to Black Americans and our allies," Color of Change president Rashad Robinson said.

Go deeper

Justice Department sues Facebook over favoring H-1B workers

Photo: Ting Shen/Xinhua via Getty Images

The Justice Department is suing Facebook, alleging that the tech giant discriminated against American workers by intentionally reserving more than 2,600 jobs for immigrants on H-1B visas, the department announced Thursday.

Details: The department's two-year investigation found that Facebook gave jobs to visa holders whom the company sponsored for green cards, while failing to properly advertise the open positions or consider U.S.-born workers.

Journalism enters dangerous new era

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Capitol attack on Jan. 6 resulted in at least nine physical assaults against journalists and at least five arrests, per the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker's top editor.

Why it matters: President Trump's harsh rhetoric towards the press has empowered leaders abroad and locally in the U.S. to continue to attack press that they don't like.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The beginning of the beginning for Biden's climate push

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Joe Biden's inauguration and the days right after will bring a rat-tat-tat burst of climate policy moves, but keep this in mind amid the splashy pledges: pushing through most of his agenda will be a long, uncertain slog.

Why it matters: Biden's climate plan is far more expansive than anything contemplated under President Obama. But for all the immediate pledges, it will take years to see how far Biden gets.

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