Facebook has banned the alt-right group Proud Boys after its members clashed with Antifa protesters earlier this month.
The social network took down the group’s numerous pages and has also stopped it from using Instagram. Its founder Gavin McInnes has been blocked as have other members of the organization.
The decision comes after several of its members were filmed brawling with Antifa protesters in New York City earlier this month. The Proud Boys yelled homophobic slurs during it.
Members of the group complained about it on Twitter where they said it proved a ‘war on free speech’.
The alt-right group Proud Boys (whose members are shown at a January event) have been banned from Facebook and Instagram
The group’s leader Gavin McInnes was also banned from having personal accounts on the social network
On Wednesday, a Facebook spokesman told DailyMail.com: ‘Our team continues to study trends in organized hate and hate speech and works with partners to better understand hate organizations as they evolve.
‘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.’
They would not go into how they planned to stop the group from opening up new groups.
DailyMail.com understands that the company is working on technology to identify hate speech and root it out to avoid others popping up.
They have recruited designated staff to handle it and those employees are specifically trained to not only search for the vitriol but to also look for common misspellings which users resort to try to trick the system.
The group’s supporters complained about the move on Wednesday and labeled it proof of ‘the war on free speech’. There has been no official comment from McInnes or the group
On October 12, nine members of the group were filmed brawling with Antifa protesters in New York City and hurling homophobic slurs
The brawl was captured on cell phone footage and circulated online. It came after a speech by McInnes
Members of the group were proud of the attack and posed for a photograph afterwards
Facebook did not say whether the decision to ban Proud Boys this week was in response to the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday by an antisemitic gunman.
The gunman used the social network Gab which bills itself as one of the last places where free speech is protected. It has been criticized for not reporting his antisemitic remarks before Saturday’s incident.
McInnes, who is one of the founders of Vice and was pushed out of the media company in 2008, and the group has tried to separate itself from other alt-right groups like Unite the Right and insist that their focus is on promoting ‘Western Values’ instead of intensifying racial tensions.
Maxwell Hare, 26, and John Kinsman, were charged for their role in the brawl
Geoffrey Young and Douglas Lennan, two more members who were charged
Irvin Antillon, 41, is another member charged. Police are also hunting three of the Antifa protesters
Twitter banned the group and its founder months ago.
On October 12, members of the group were filmed beating Antifa protesters outside a New York City nightclub.
There were nine of them and they had been spurred on, according to prosecutors, by a speech given by McInnes earlier in the night.
Five of the nine members were filmed in cell phone footage have been arrested.
Police also wanted to track down three of the protesters on the other side of the fight.
One of them was filmed hurling a plastic bottle at the Proud Boys protesters.