SAN DIEGO — Facebook has removed the 22,000-member Defend East County group from its site, the group’s founder and administrator, Justin Haskins, announced in a post to a separate Facebook group Saturday morning.
A San Diego Union-Tribune investigation of the group’s activity in August revealed that members frequently talked about inflicting violence on Black Lives Matter protesters, shared memes and videos celebrating right-wing violence against protesters and discussed the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory.
I was a member of the Defend East County group on Facebook and checked in on them every now and then. It was definitely pro-Trump and MAGA, which I was uncomfortable with at times. I saw no violence, and no overt racism (though there was one meme I did not love).
The leadership of the group outright banned racism and calls to violence. That’s what I saw. Maybe other people saw other things elsewhere.
I saw a lot of people mobilizing to help victims of the fires in East County.
We had riots in La Mesa in May. Buildings were burned down. When the police have failed to protect people, the people protect themselves, and that does not end well.
Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have too much power. Break ’em up.