- Facebook took down multiple pages for right-wing group Patriot Prayer and the group’s founder, Joey Gibson.
- One of the members of Patriot Prayer was shot and killed during a protest in Portland, Oregon, last Saturday.
- A company spokesperson told Reuters that the social media platform removed the pages to prevent the spread of “violent social militias” on the site.
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In a move to counteract “violent social militias,” Facebook said it took down multiple pages that had belonged to right-wing group Patriot Prayer and founder Joey Gibson.
Patriot Prayer is a far-right group based in the Pacific Northwest region that frequently hosts pro-Trump rallies.
The group received national attention this week after one of its members was killed during a protest last Saturday in Portland, Oregon. The member, Aaron “Jay” Danielson, was shot during a confrontation between Black Lives Matter activists and pro-Trump supporters.
Patriot Prayer rallies frequently feature appearances by members of the Proud Boys, an antigovernment extremist organization that was designated a hate group by the nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center.
Gibson, a right-wing activist who leads the group, has been organizing pro-Trump rallies in multiple U.S. cities since 2016. Supporters usually come armed to the rallies, which generally attract a lot of attention from counter-protesters. Rallies also frequently result in violence and street fighting, according to the SPLC.
Company spokesperson Andy Stone said Facebook removed the pages to prevent the spread of “violent social militias” on its site, Reuters reported Friday.
Last month, Facebook announced an expansion to its “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations” policy to include “organizations and movements that have demonstrated significant risks to public safety but do not meet the rigorous criteria to be designated as a dangerous organization and banned from having any presence on our platform.”
“We are taking action against Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts tied to offline anarchist groups that support violent acts amidst protests, US-based militia organizations and QAnon,” the company wrote in a press release.
Facebook did not immediately return a request for comment from Business Insider.
Since the inception of the Patriot Prayer page in 2017 and up until it got shut down, the page reached almost 45,000 Facebook followers, Reuters reported.
It’s unclear whether Twitter and YouTube will follow in Facebook’s steps. Patriot Prayer accounts on both platforms have tens of thousands of followers. Neither Twitter nor YouTube immediately responded to a request for comment from Business Insider.