Extremist group and its founder, Gavin McInnis, to lose main recruiting tool
Facebook Inc. has started banning pages affiliated with the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group that was involved in a violent brawl in New York City earlier this month.
Business Insider first reported late Tuesday that the Proud Boys and founder Gavin McInnis will be banned from Facebook and Instagram, as well as public and personal accounts linked to the organization’s members.
As of late Tuesday night, the Proud Boys’ main Facebook page, which had more than 20,000 likes, had been taken down, but pages featuring McInnis’s videos and local Proud Boys pages were still active.
“Our team continues to study trends in organized hate and hate speech and works with partners to better understand hate organizations as they evolve,” Facebook FB, +3.80% 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.”
The Proud Boys reportedly rely on Facebook for recruiting new members.
Police have arrested a number of Proud Boys in relation to a recent clash with protesters outside a Republican club on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where McInnis was speaking.
The Proud Boys, who describe themselves as a “Western chauvinist” club, have been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for regularly espousing white supremacist views and encouraging violence.
Earlier Tuesday, Facebook beat analysts’ earnings estimates and reported flat growth in daily users in the U.S. and Canada. Facebook shares are down 17% year to date, compared to the S&P 500’s SPX, +1.57% 0.3% gain.