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Facebook’s Kenosha Guard Militia Event Was Reported 455 Times. Moderators Said It Was Fine.

“To put that number into perspective, it made up 66% of all event reports that day,” one Facebook worker wrote in the internal “Violence and Incitement Working Group” to illustrate the number of complaints the company had received about the event.

BuzzFeed News could not verify the content on the militia page or its associated event because they had been removed from the platform. A previous story from the Verge noted that the page had issued a “call to arms” and hosted a number of commenters advocating for violence in Kenosha following the police shooting of 29-year-old Black man Jacob Blake.

A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment.

The internal report seen by BuzzFeed News reveals the extent to which concerned Facebook users went to warn the company of a group calling for public violence, and how the company failed to act. “The event is highly unusual in retrospect,” reads the report, which notes that the next highest event for the day had been flagged 18 times by users compared to the 455 times of the Kenosha Guard event.

After militia gathered in Kenosha on Tuesday night, a 17-year-old with a rifle allegedly killed two protesters. Facebook has maintained that the suspect, whose Facebook and Instagram profiles were taken down after the incident, had no direct connection with the Kenosha Guard page or event.

Do you work at Facebook or another technology company? We’d love to hear from you. Reach out at ryan.mac@buzzfeed.com or via one of our tip line channels.

During Facebook’s Thursday all-hands meeting, Zuckerberg said that the images from Wisconsin were “painful and really discouraging,” before acknowledging that the company had made a mistake in not taking the Kenosha Guard page and event down sooner. The page had violated Facebook’s new rules introduced last week that labeled militia and QAnon groups as “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations” for their celebrations of violence.

The company did not catch the page despite user reports, Zuckerberg said, because the complaints had been sent to content moderation contractors who were not versed in “how certain militias” operate. “On second review, doing it more sensitively, the team that was responsible for dangerous organizations recognized that this violated the policies and we took it down.”

During the talk, Facebook employees hammered Zuckerberg for continuing to allow the spread of hatred on the platform.

This content was originally published here.

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