World News

Facebook, Instagram ban far-right Proud Boys and founder

Facebook, Instagram ban far-right Proud Boys and founder

Facebook yesterday said it was removing accounts associated with far-right group "The Proud Boys" and its founder Gavin McInnes for hate speech that violates the social network's policies.

"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.

A spokeswoman for Facebook, which also owns Instagram, says the company takes action against hate groups to keep its community safe. In October, members of the group were caught on video in NY beating anti-fascist protesters while shouting anti-gay slurs.

The loss of the platforms will likely hurt the Proud Boys' ability to recruit.

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Members of the group brawled with anti-fascist protesters following a speech by McInnes at a Manhattan Republican club on October 12, resulting in arrests of both Proud Boys' members and anti-fascists. This latest decision pretty much stymies the Proud Boys large electric dog whistle. Jason Kessler, one of the organizers of the 2017 "Unite the Right" white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville that resulted in the death of a protester, was reportedly a member of the Proud Boys.

McInnes, who co-founded Vice Media and left in 2008, created Proud Boys during the 2016 presidential election, and was suspended from Twitter in August.

Facebook confirmed the news to TechCrunch, and indicated that the group now meets the company's definition of a hate organisation or figure. "While Twitter has received significant criticism for verifying Proud Boys accounts, it's Facebook that appears to provide the recruitment machinery for the group", it wrote.

The Proud Boys' main U.S. page and McInnes' personal page are offline, but some smaller pages linked to the group are still up at time of writing.


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