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Hate Speech: Facebook bans Proud Boys, American Guard 900 accounts

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Facebook has banned social media accounts linked to white supremacy groups.

The decision, according to Facebook, followed the posts by the group members who were threatening to bring weapons to protests over police killings of black people.

While disclosing this in a statement on Friday June 19, 2020, Facebook stated that the accounts on Facebook and Instagram were Linked to the Proud Boys and the American Guard, two hate groups already banned on those platforms.

The company announced Tuesday that it recently took down 470 accounts belonging to people affiliated with the Proud Boys and another 430 linked to members of the American Guard.

Nearly 200 other accounts linked to the groups were removed late last month.

Facebook officials have said they were already monitoring the groups’ social media presence and were led to act when they spotted posts attempting to exploit the ongoing protests prompted by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Facebook noted that some of the accounts belonged to men reported to have participated in a brawl with protesters in Seattle. 

The company did not divulge details of the account users — such as their specific plans for protests or where in the U.S. they live.

“In both cases, we saw accounts from both organizations discussing attending protests in various US states with plans to carry weapons,” the statement reads. 

“But we did not find indications in their on-platform content they planned to actively commit violence," it adds. 

Both the Proud Boys and American Guard had been banned from Facebook for violating rules prohibiting hate speech.

Facebook said it would continue to remove new pages, groups or accounts created by users trying to circumvent the ban.

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