Facebook’s hate group whack-a-mole continues.
The social network removed 190 accounts tied to white supremacist groups Proud Boys and American Guard, the Associated Press first reported, and Facebook confirmed to Mashable.
The company said that those accounts were planning to incite violence at George Floyd protests against police brutality, in some cases urging members to attend the protests with weapons.
“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,” Brian Fishman, Facebook’s director of counterterrorism and dangerous organizations policy, told the AP.
Both hate groups are already banned from Facebook. But hate group members spreading discord often crop back up on the social network under different accounts. By continuing to monitor resurgent accounts Facebook identified as associated with the banned groups, it was able to identify messages indicating that the protests would be targets.
Facebook only officially banned “white nationalism” and “white separatism” in March 2019. The decision came days after the Christchurch mosque shooting, which the shooter livestreamed on Facebook. Now, Facebook periodically announces batches of bans and account removals of white supremacist and conspiracy theory content.
UPDATE: June 7, 2020, 5:56 p.m. PDT This article was updated to add more information provided by a Facebook spokesperson.