Facebook and Instagram have banned a number of accounts associated with the far-right Proud Boys group as well as its founder Gavin McInnes, who previously co-founded Vice.
Accounts associated with the Proud Boys started to disappear from the site Tuesday. The take-down also impacted a number of groups and pages associated with the group, including many pages for regional chapters of the group across the U.S. and beyond.
Facebook confirmed the take-down in a statement sent to Business Insider, which was first to report about it. “Our team continues to study trends in organized hate and hate speech and works with partners to better understand hate organizations as they evolve,” the company said. “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.”
The ban of the group comes after some of its members allegedly violently attacked counter-protesters following an event in New York last month. A handful of members of the group were arrested following the attack, and now face gang assault and rioting charges.
The Proud Boys call themselves “Western chauvinists,” and insist that they don’t have a connection to organized right-wing extremists. However, Proud Boys members have repeatedly appeared with members of the militant far right, and taken part in street fights against political opponents.
McInnes co-founded Vice Magazine with Vice Media’s current executive chairman Shane Smith in 1994, but left the company in 2008. He went on to found the Proud Boys in 2016.
This isn’t the first time the Proud Boys have lost their online presence: Twitter permanently banned accounts associated with the group and its founder in August.
The Proud Boys have since tried to establish a presence on the far-right Twitter alternative Gab, but that service went down earlier this week after losing access to its hosting and domain name providers.