On Tuesday, Facebook removed almost 900 accounts associated with the far-right Proud Boys and American Guard, including those belonging to Proud Boys supporters who marched into a protest zone in Seattle Monday and confronted anti-racist demonstrators.
The social media platform told Reuters the takedowns of more than 500 Facebook accounts and more than 300 Instagram accounts followed a smaller round of suspensions two weeks ago.
A Facebook spokeswoman who asked not to be identified said that “We initially removed a set of accounts for both organizations on May 30 when we saw that both organizations started posting content tied to the ongoing protests. We were continuing the work to map out the full network.”
The company had previously banned the groups for promoting hate, but individual members continued to post images with weapons and urge others to attend protests that followed the Minneapolis killing of George Floyd in police custody.
Facebook is under increased scrutiny as provocateurs use it to coordinate and recruit. It has also acted to make it harder to find groups in the so-called Boogaloo movement. Boogaloo adherents believe a new civil war is looming and are often heavily armed.
On Tuesday, two adherents were charged in connection with the murder of a security guard on duty at a federal building during a protest in Oakland.
According to an affidavit supporting the criminal complaint, suspect Steven Carrillo and Robert Alvin Justus Jr. belonged to the same unidentified Facebook group and discussed attacking federal authorities on May 28.
Carrillo posted, in a reference the FBI said was shorthand for three-letter agencies that “It’s a great opportunity to target the specialty soup bois.”
The FBI said that the guard was killed the following night. After a later carjacking, Carrillo wrote “Boog” in his own blood on the vehicle.