Facebook officials have said they were already monitoring the groups’ social media presence and were led to act when they spotted posts attempting to exploit the ongoing protests prompted by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Some of the accounts belonged to men reported to have participated in a brawl with protesters in Seattle, Facebook said. The company did not divulge details of the account users — such as their specific plans for protests or where in the U.S. they live.
“In both cases, we saw accounts from both organizations discussing attending protests in various US states with plans to carry weapons,” the company said in a statement. “But we did not find indications in their on-platform content they planned to actively commit violence.”
Both the Proud Boys and American Guard had been banned from Facebook for violating rules prohibiting hate speech. Facebook said it will continue to remove new pages, groups or accounts created by users trying to circumvent the ban.