AP – Facebook has removed another 900 social media accounts linked to white supremacy groups after members discussed plans to bring weapons to protests over police killings of black people.
The accounts on Facebook and Instagram were tied to the Proud Boys and the American Guard, two hate groups already banned on those platforms.
The company announced it recently took down 470 accounts belonging to people affiliated with the Proud Boys and another 430 linked to members of the American Guard. Nearly 200 other accounts linked to the groups were removed late last month.
Facebook officials said they were already monitoring the groups’ social media presence and were led to act when they spotted posts attempting to exploit the ongoing protests prompted by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Some of the accounts belonged to men reported to have participated in a brawl with protesters in Seattle, Facebook said. The company did not divulge details of the account users — such as their specific plans for protests or where in the United States (US) they live.
“In both cases, we saw accounts from both organisations discussing attending protests in various US states with plans to carry weapons,” the company said in a statement. “But we did not find indications in their on-platform content they planned to actively commit violence.”
Both the Proud Boys and American Guard had been banned from Facebook for violating rules prohibiting hate speech. Facebook said it will continue to remove new pages, groups or accounts created by users trying to circumvent the ban.