Facebook sees rapid surge in Patriot Party groups, study finds
Colby McCoy, DCNF
Facebook has seen a rapid surge in the number of pro-Trump Patriot Party groups on its platform since the 2020 election, a Tech Transparency Project (TTP) study reported.
The TTP study identified 51 Facebook groups and 85 Facebook pages that either utilize the Patriot Party moniker or “iconography” associated with the group and collectively achieved 90,420 members as of Jan. 20. In particular, a group called “Patriot Party” created on Jan. 17 saw its membership immediately explode, gaining more than 105,000 members in eight days before being banned from the Facebook platform.
It was also found that 67% of Patriot Party Facebook groups were created after the 2020 election, TTP reported. Out of the 67%, 14 groups were created the day after the deadly Capitol riots on Jan. 6 which resulted in multiple deaths and significant property damage.
Another 37% of the Facebook groups used Patriot Party iconography, most notably a red, white and blue lions head icon surrounded by stars, TTP reported.
TTP found Patriot Party groups predominantly use the Facebook platform to drive recruitment for local militias and “exchange information on military tactics, radio communication, and training opportunities,” despite Facebook’s drive to ban “militarized social movements.”
Facebook’s algorithms are reportedly recommending Patriot Party pages to interested users which is “likely contributing to the growth of the movement,” TTP reported.
“While Facebook may have removed some of the Patriot Party groups, others are still active,” TPP said in a tweet pointing to Facebook’s inconsistent efforts to entirely the groups off of its platform.
While Facebook may have removed some of the Patriot Party groups, others are still active.
Facebook's notifications (as seen in this screenshot taken at 12:50) make sure users never miss a post in those groups, another way the platform helps push its users toward radicalization https://t.co/VNEAc5ySNz pic.twitter.com/G0GbpfPhfi
— Tech Transparency Project (@TTP_updates) February 2, 2021
TPP also found that Patriot Party groups played a crucial role in generating support for the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally at The Ellipse in Washington, D.C. which eventually culminated into the storming of the Capitol Building.
“The first wave to begin arriving and if ‘HARM’ comes to any of our American Patriot you will witness wave after wave of ‘US’ to defend them and uphold our American Constitution, ‘We the People’ will never ‘Surrender nor Retreat’, we are not Antifa nor BLM We are the People, election Fraud Ends NOW!”, an unknown member of the “Official Patriot Party” group said two days prior to the Jan. 6 riots.
Facebook has reportedly removed the “Official Patriot Party” and two affiliated groups from its platform, TTP reported.
Facebook did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.