Facebook bans pages linked to far-right Proud Boys group after arrests

Blanche Robertson
November 1, 2018

Facebook is banning individual accounts, pages and groups linked to far-right extremists the Proud Boys. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Proud Boys used Facebook a tool to recruit and vet new members. The action comes after members of the Proud Boys were arrested earlier this month in New York City for participating in a brawl, appearing to yell slurs and expletives while kicking and punching several anti-fascist protesters who lay on the sidewalk, according to a video of the incident.

A Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider that the organisation violates its rules against hate groups.

Several people were arrested after Proud Boys members clashed with anti-fascist protesters in Manhattan on October 12 following a speech by McInnes. These hate groups (while they have always existed) have been empowered by Trump's election, which has led to a rise in hate crimes across the country.

The site will also remove any "praise and support" for the group once they become aware of it.

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A spokeswoman for Facebook, which also owns Instagram, says the company takes action against hate groups to keep its community safe. Before the ban, the hate group had more than 35 regional and city and state subgroups which organizers used as recruitment tools, as well as several groups created to vet potential members. Among them are McInnes, a founder of Vice Media, and Jason Kessler, organizer of last year's deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Facebook lagged behind its peers in removing The Proud Boys; Twitter banned the organisation and its founder back in August, BuzzFeed News reported at the time.

The Proud Boys was founded in 2016 by McInnes, who had previously co-founded the media company Vice Media. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

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