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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)

Key Takeaways
  • 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

"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 told the Daily Beast 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."

Founded in 2016 by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, the Proud Boys describe themselves like this on their website:

The basic tenet of the group is that we are "Western chauvinists who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world." Like Archie Bunker, we long for the days when "girls were girls and men were men." This wasn't controversial even twenty years ago, but being proud of Western culture today is like being a crippled, black, lesbian communist in 1953.

The official stance of the Proud Boys is not white superiority but Western superiority, and the "alt-lite" group has tried to distance itself from the alt-right. For example, Jason Kessler, the organizer of the "Unite the Right" rally, was a Proud Boy until McInnes kicked him out of the group shortly after the death of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville.

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Still, group members have been known to show up at racist rallies, toss around racist slurs, and, intentionally or not, blur the line between stated ideas like "West is Best" and subtler ideas like white nationalism.


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