Washington, D.C. – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law issued a demand letter to Facebook yesterday calling for the company to remove various videos and content posted by members of the United Constitutional Patriots (UCP), an extremist militia group that has a history of illegally holding people hostage at the New Mexico border. The group’s videos and activities violate a number of provisions in Facebook’s Community Standards. In addition, the letter notes that the videos and other content raise serious concerns that UCP may have violated both federal and state law.
UCP’s videos show members of the militia, dressed in military uniform, holding people at gunpoint. Because these videos include content showing possible assault, kidnapping and false imprisonment, among other illegal acts, the group alleges that UCP is in violation of Facebook’s Community Standards, which prohibits “content depicting … criminal acts” including “acts of physical harm committed against people.” The letter also identifies several other provisions of Facebook’s Community Standards which the UCP content may violate, including provisions prohibiting depictions of human trafficking, violent or graphic content, and content containing child abuse.
The UCP militia group has used Facebook to secure support and to promote the group’s fundraising activities at a rapid pace.
“We believe Facebook has a duty to act and remove content posted by UCP that violates the company’s community standards,” said Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “The United Constitutional Patriots have engaged in illegal activities, including rounding up and restraining hundreds of people – including babies and young children – at gunpoint. UCP should not be allowed to use Facebook’s platform to gain support for their illegal actions.”
The letter is available here.
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 56th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest to “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights.
Reynolds Graves, Lawyers’ Committee, [email protected], 202-662-8375