Facebook has removed almost 200 accounts connected to white supremacist groups that were trying to rally supporters to attend protests over police violence against black people, the Associated Press reported. The accounts in question were linked to two hate groups Facebook had already banned, the Proud Boys and the American Guard.
Demonstrations continued over the weekend across the US, spurred by the May 25th death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Authorities have charged fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin with second-degree murder in Floyd’s death, after a video showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck as other officers looked on. The other officers, who were also fired, have been charged with aiding and abetting murder.
Facebook had been monitoring the accounts and started to see posts encouraging people to attend protests in person. Some were preparing to go with weapons, a company official told the AP. The company didn’t provide details about where the account users were located, or what specifically they may have planned to do at the protests.
Last week Facebook said it would limit the spread of groups and pages on its platform connected to the term “boogaloo,” which some far-right groups use to refer to a supposedly forthcoming second American Civil War. It will demote the pages and groups in search results and won’t recommend them to users, Facebook said.