Facebook removes Proud Boys pages for "hate speech"

Several members of the far-right group were recently arrested after getting into a fight with protesters in New York City.

Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
  • The Proud Boys is a far-right group of "Western chauvinists" that have been linked to multiple instances of politically motivated violence, including clashes with the leftist group Antifa.
  • Facebook suggested the pages trafficked in "organized hate speech."
  • The bans come several months after multiple media platforms removed pages belonging to Alex Jones, another popular far-right figure.

Facebook has banned accounts and pages associated with the Proud Boys, a far-right group of self-described "Western chauvinists," for trafficking in "organized hate speech."

Business Insider reports that Proud Boys accounts were also removed from Instagram. The removals come two weeks after several Proud Boys were arrested after fighting with protesters in New York City.

Thank you those who've submitted info regarding the violent incident which took place on 10-12-18 in the UES. As we further the investigation, we urge additional victims/complainants/witnesses to come forward. If you have info, call CrimeStoppers, 800-577-TIPS pic.twitter.com/amUhGvCJLg
— Chief Dermot F. Shea (@NYPDDetectives) October 15, 2018

​The "purge" of far-right voices from social media

Facebook's removal of Proud Boys pages comes about three months after it banned pages belonging to Alex Jones and his far-right website Infowars. Jones also had pages removed from YouTube, Apple, LinkedIn, Spotify and other platforms.

Jones and some other far-right figures branded the bans as censorship—a purge of conservative voices by the liberal media.

Meanwhile, Facebook said that Jones, and now the Proud Boys, had violated its policies and was therefore subject to being removed from its platform. In any case, Facebook is a publicly traded company that's under no obligation whatsoever to provide unencumbered free speech rights to anyone.

What's interesting is that Facebook has long made it a point to portray itself as a basically editorially neutral tech company, "not a media company," as CEO Mark Zuckerberg once said. The motivation behind this classification is that Facebook can deflect responsibility from making tough editorial decisions if it's only considered to be a neutral tech platform.

But in recent months, the company has been increasingly exercising its publisher discretion—both in highly publicized cases like the Alex Jones bans and in court.

In a 2018 lawsuit against Facebook, an app startup alleged that Facebook developed a "malicious and fraudulent scheme" to weaponize users' data and force rival companies out of business. Sonal Mehta, a lawyer for Facebook, suggested that Facebook is like traditional media companies, a characterization that doesn't quite fit with past descriptions from company spokespeople.

"The publisher discretion is a free speech right irrespective of what technological means is used. A newspaper has a publisher function whether they are doing it on their website, in a printed copy or through the news alerts."

The world and workforce need wisdom. Why don’t universities teach it?

Universities claim to prepare students for the world. How many actually do it?

Photo: Take A Pix Media / Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Many university mission statements do not live up to their promise, writes Ben Nelson, founder of Minerva, a university designed to develop intellect over content memorization.
  • The core competencies that students need for success—critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and cross-cultural understanding, for example—should be intentionally taught, not left to chance.
  • These competencies can be summed up with one word: wisdom. True wisdom is the ability to apply one's knowledge appropriately when faced with novel situations.
Keep reading Show less

What the world will look like in the year 250,002,018

This is what the world will look like, 250 million years from now

On Pangaea Proxima, Lagos will be north of New York, and Cape Town close to Mexico City
Surprising Science

To us humans, the shape and location of oceans and continents seems fixed. But that's only because our lives are so short.

Keep reading Show less

Six-month-olds recognize (and like) when they’re being imitated

A new study may help us better understand how children build social cognition through caregiver interaction.

Personal Growth
  • Scientists speculate imitation helps develop social cognition in babies.
  • A new study out of Lund University shows that six-month-olds look and smile more at imitating adults.
  • Researchers hope the data will spur future studies to discover what role caregiver imitation plays in social cognition development.
  • Keep reading Show less

    New study connects cardiovascular exercise with improved memory

    Researchers at UT Southwestern noted a 47 percent increase in blood flow to regions associated with memory.

    An elderly man runs during his morning exercises at the promenade on the Bund along the Huangpu Rive the Bund in Shanghai on May 18, 2017.

    Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images
    Surprising Science
    • Researchers at UT Southwestern observed a stark improvement in memory after cardiovascular exercise.
    • The year-long study included 30 seniors who all had some form of memory impairment.
    • The group of seniors that only stretched for a year did not fair as well in memory tests.
    Keep reading Show less
    Scroll down to load more…