(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. has removed a network of user accounts from its core site and Instagram tied to Querdenken, a movement in Germany that opposes Covid-19 measures like wearing masks and imposed lockdowns.

“This network consistently violated our Community Standards against harmful health misinformation, incitement of violence, bullying, harassment and hate speech,” Facebook wrote in a blog post. 

The group helped organize a rally last year in Berlin to oppose pandemic-related laws, which it says infringe on German constitutional freedoms. Facebook, which said the movement is linked to violence and other social harms, removed fewer than 150 groups, pages or accounts linked to Querdenken, and isn’t banning all of the group’s content.  

The network was removed as part of an expanded Facebook policy that forbids groups of legitimate user accounts that work together to try and avoid Facebook’s rules and policies, executives said. 

The company already has existing protocols against networks of “inauthentic” accounts, and a separate mandate that prohibits “dangerous organizations,” but said this new policy is meant to capture groups that fall in a gray area: authentic users who routinely break the rules and pose a threat, but don’t necessarily rise above the “dangerous organizations” threshold. 

“This protocol is designed to capture these groups that are sort of in between,” said Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of security policy.

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