Facebook is banning accounts and groups associated with the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group linked to political violence in the US. Facebook has confirmed the move to TechCrunch, indicating that the group now meets the company's definition of a hate organization or figure. The decision follows an incident that took place in New York earlier in October, where Proud Boys members were involved in a violent attack on protesters, and five members were arrested.
The group, which describes its members as "Western Chauvenists," was banned from Twitter in August, but has relied on Facebook as a primary recruitment tool. TechCrunch reports that the group "operate a surprisingly sophisticated network for getting new members into the fold via many local and regional Facebook groups." Facebook now says it is revisiting how it deals with hate groups.
"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 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."