Facebook Bans Extremist Group Proud Boys Following Protest Violence
Photo Credit: AfroTech

Facebook Bans Extremist Group Proud Boys Following Protest Violence

Facebook has banned alt-right group Proud Boys, its followers, and founder, Gavin McInnes, from using Facebook groups and Instagram after being linked to violent protests in New York earlier this month. Five members have since been arrested for their roles in the violence.

On Tuesday, Facebook confirmed tens of thousands of accounts and groups affiliated with Proud Boys have been removed. The group who also had ties to violence during the Charlottesville protests used Facebook as its main recruiting tool. Both members and its founder have been banned on Twitter since August as well.

Facebook is one of many social media platforms and other websites cracking down on hate speech and hate groups. Earlier this week, GoDaddy banned Gab, a platform that allowed far-right extremists to make homophobic, racist and Anti-Semitic death threats. Robert Bowers posted Anti-Semitic slurs on the platform shortly before opening fire on 11 people in a synagogue over the weekend.

Gab has also been banned on Google Play, the Apple store, and PayPal.

“In the midst of this Gab has been no-platformed by essential internet infrastructure providers at every level,” Gab CEO Andrew Torba said in a statement. “We are the most censored, smeared, and no-platformed startup in history, which means we are a threat to the media and to the Silicon Valley Oligarchy.”

Twitter updated its conduct policy in September banning dehumanizing speech.

As platforms rid themselves of problematic and extremist accounts, some worry the damage may have already been done. Facebook said it will continue monitoring and removing hate speech.

“Our team continues to study trends in organized hate and hate speech and works with partners to better understand hate organizations as they evolve,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.  “We ban these organizations and individuals from our platforms and also remove all praise and support when we become aware of it.”