Content Policy, Product Policy, and External Relations Teams
c/o Monika Bickert, Monique Dorsainvil, and Shaarik Zafar
1299 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, D.C., 20004
April 24, 2019
Dear Content Policy, Product Policy, and External Relations Teams:
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law writes in regard to various videos posted by members of the United Constitutional Patriots (UCP), a racist, right-wing militia group, that has a history of illegally detaining people at the New Mexico border. We believe these videos violate Facebook’s Community Standards. In addition, the video content raises serious concerns that UCP has violated both federal and state law.
UCP’s videos show members of the militia, dressed in military uniform, holding people at gunpoint. Such videos depict content in violation of Facebook’s Community Standards, Section I.3 “Promoting or Publicizing Crime,” which prohibits “content depicting, admitting, or promoting the following criminal acts committed by you or your associates” including “acts of physical harm committed against people.” The content depicted in these videos shows possible assault, kidnapping, and false imprisonment, as well as other possible torts and criminal violations. In addition, Section I.3 prohibits content depicting human trafficking, which Facebook defines in Section I.2 as including “transporting, transferring, detaining … a minor, or an adult against their will.”
Furthermore, UCP and UCP’s leaders satisfy your company’s definition of dangerous organizations and dangerous individuals in Section I.2 of your Community Standards, as they constitute human traffickers and a “criminal organization” under your Community Standards. The Community Standards define a “criminal organization” in Section I.2 as “any association of
three or more people that is united under a name… or recognized indicia, that has engaged in or threatened to engage in criminal activity, including … trafficking, assault, [and] kidnapping.” Once designated as a dangerous individual/organization, under your company’s policies, users are not allowed to praise, support, or represent the banned person/group.
Content promoting/supporting UCP and UCP’s leaders’ actions also violates Section I.4 of the Community Standards, “Coordinating Harm.” This section prohibits users from making “statements of intent, calls to action, or advocating for” various harms, including “[a]cts of physical harm committed against people” and “trafficking.”
In addition, the videos and other content likely violate Section III.13’s prohibition of “Violence or Graphic Content,” which includes prohibitions of “imagery of violence committed against real people … with comments or captions by the poster that contain … enjoyment of suffering, enjoyment of humiliation, [or] remarks that speak positively of the violence.” This section also prohibits “videos that show child abuse, defined as [including] forcible restraint by an adult.” There are children in the crowds of detained migrants in many of UCP’s videos.
Finally, various comments and statements in the content may violate hate speech (Section III.12) or harassment (Section II.10) policies, depending on context. Section III.12 states that Facebook does “not allow hate speech on Facebook because it creates an environment of intimidation and exclusion and in some cases may promote real-world violence.” This Section goes on to define hate speech “as a direct attack on people based on what we call protected characteristics — race, ethnicity, national origin…” and also states that Facebook “provide[s] some protections for immigration status.” The Community Standards “define attack as violent or dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority, or calls for exclusion or segregation.” The UCP postings contain content which includes statements of inferiority and calls for exclusion.
We request that you take immediate action to remove UCP content that violates the Community Standards. This content is allowing UCP to garner support and fundraise for their activities at a rapid pace. Moreover, because UCP has engaged in a conspiracy to deprive the civil rights of these migrants, Facebook has a legal duty to aid in the disruption of this unlawful conspiracy. We are happy to meet with you to discuss additional federal and state laws the UCP videos and other content posted on your site appear to violate. Given the urgent nature of this issue, we request your response by April 28th.
President & Executive Director
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
 The Lawyers’ Committee is a national civil rights and racial justice organization created at the request of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. President Kennedy sought to enlist the private bar’s leadership and resources in combatting discrimination and the resulting inequalities in courtrooms across America. The Lawyers’ Committee’s mission is to secure equal justice for all through the rule of law, targeting in particular the inequities confronting African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities. The Lawyers’ Committee’s Stop Hate Project seeks to strengthen the capacity of community leaders, law enforcement, and organizations around the country to combat hate.
 See e.g., https://www.facebook.com/100001932540125/posts/2490286141045780?sfns=mo and https://www.facebook.com/jim.benvie.3/videos/vb.100005774524129/977467575789051/?type=2&video_source=user_video_tab.
 See e.g., https://www.facebook.com/jim.benvie.3/videos/vb.100005774524129/991379547731187/?type=2&video_source=user_video_tab and https://www.facebook.com/100001932540125/posts/2490286141045780?sfns=mo.
 See e.g., https://www.facebook.com/jim.benvie.3/videos/996493263886482/ at 13:40 (“the Constitution gives you the right to protect yourself against invaders coming into your country”) and 15:30 (describing immigrants as criminals and “people that want to do harm to this country that don’t belong here.”)