Facebook and Instagram banned Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes and Facebook groups affiliated with his far-right men’s club on Tuesday, a day after The Daily Beast reported that McInnes was using both platforms to post racist images and promote violence against liberals.
The Proud Boys, a street-fighting club of self-described “Western chauvinists,” have come under increasing scrutinizing from both law enforcement and social media platforms after members of the group brawled with left-wing “antifascist” protesters on October 12. The fight, in which some Proud Boys yelled homophobic slurs, has resulted in criminal charges against nine Proud Boys and three “antifa” activists.
McInnes, a Vice cofounder who left the company in 2008, was banned from Twitter in August. The trash-talking Proud Boys leader now faces a severely limited social reach, especially with Gab, the far-right’s social network of last resort, offline following the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.
Business Insider first reported the Facebook and Instagram bans.
The bans from Facebook and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, were prompted by both sites’ policies on 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,” a Facebook spokesperson 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.”
Losing Facebook groups could be a serious blow to the Proud Boys, who used public and private regional groups to recruit and vet new members. The Southern Poverty Law Center has called private Proud Boys Facebook groups “ideological echo chambers” where Proud Boys planned their often-violent appearances at political rallies.