Facebook removes hate group accounts that urged people to attend protests with guns

Facebook removes hate group accounts that urged people to attend protests with guns
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Facebook removed nearly 200 social media accounts connected with white supremacy groups that were planning to encourage members to attend protests over police brutality and killings of black people.

Some of the accounts encouraged members to bring guns to the demonstrations, The Associated Press reported.

Accounts were removed from both Facebook and Instagram. They were reportedly tied to the Proud Boys and the American Guard, which are considered hate groups under Facebook's user guidelines and are already banned from the social media platform.

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Officials were monitoring the accounts prior to their removal and removed them after they saw posts attempting to exploit ongoing protests over the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died while in Minneapolis police custody.

"We saw that these groups were planning to rally supporters and members to physically go to the protests and in some cases were preparing to go with weapons," said Brian Fishman, Facebook's director of counterterrorism and dangerous organizations policy.

Facebook did not provide details of the account users or precisely where their plans for protests were located but said "approximately" 190 accounts were removed from the platform.

The company also announced the removal of a "handful" of accounts earlier this week created by white supremacists who had been pretending to be members of the far-left antifa movement on Twitter.

The Hill has reached out to Facebook but did not immediately hear back.

President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE announced last week that the administration would label the anti-fascist activists known as antifa as a terrorist organization.

However, there is currently no domestic terrorism statute, and the federal government does not have the authority to designate domestic organizations as terrorist groups.