Facebook has banned content linked to violent neo-fascist group Proud Boys, citing the organization’s promotion of hate speech.
The Proud Boys and its founder Gavin McInnes were removed from Facebook and Instagram on Tuesday.
“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. We will continue to review content, Pages, and people that violate our policies, take action against hate speech and hate organizations to help keep our community safe.”
Proud Boys, which the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as a hate group, includes members who are white nationalists or are linked to white nationalist groups. Among them are McInnes, a founder of Vice Media, and Jason Kessler, organizer of last year’s deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Members of the group were arrested this month after assaulting anti-fascist protesters on a Manhattan street, shouting homophobic slurs.
Facebook, facing criticism for not doing enough to crack down on hateful content, in April revealed guidelines it uses to enforce its community standards. Moderators regularly monitor content for violations, and a team is specifically assigned to track hate speech trends, Facebook said.
Still, examples of hate speech being shared via Facebook continue to surface. A Reuters investigation published in August, for example, found that the social media platform was being used in Myanmar to promote hateful content related to the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority, which contributed to violent attacks.