Facebook has deleted accounts and all pages linked to Patriot Prayer, a far-right group known for its violent nature. Along with this group, the social-media platform also took down the account related to Joey Gibson, who is the Patriot Prayer group leader. Both these accounts were removed on Friday.
This action resulted from a change in policies sometime in the middle of August when the company decided to modify some of its rules surrounding “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations.” These policy updates resulted in many groups and pages getting removed from the platform. A few of these removed pages were connected to QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory that believed that a plot against Trump is being exposed. Then again, there were some militia organizations and some Antifa-related pages as well as groups that were being deleted. Antifa is a left-leaning decentralized group that is against fascism.
Facebook posted a blog in which it went on to state the reason for it to erase all the groups that indulged in acts of violence “We have seen growing movements that, while not directly organizing violence, have celebrated violent acts, shown that they have weapons and suggest they will use them, or have individual followers with patterns of violent behavior.”Source
For those who are wondering what the Patriot Prayer is all about, well, it is a Vancouver, Washington-based far-right group that is responsible for creating disruptive acts in places where left-leaning groups have set up their centers. The events within the Patriot Prayer group are such that they lead to anti-social activities such as unacceptable acts of violence and street fighting. These destructive acts have involved people from other activist groups like the Proud Boys and Identity Evropa.
Last year, charges were slapped on Gibson for a street-fight incident in Portland, where he was held guilty of pushing a woman, taunting many, and even threatening a few people by resorting to physical means. At that time, Gibson pleaded not guilty for all of the above charges.
The Patriot Prayer group had again come in the news this week when ‘Aaron “Jay” Danielson,’ one of the group’s supporters, got killed on Saturday night owing to a clash between Trump supporters and supporters seeking an end to racial discrimination.
Michael Reinoehl, a person, suspected in Danielson’s killing, got killed on Thursday night when the federal agents’ task force and the local law enforcement tried to catch up on him somewhere near Olympia, Washington. Reinoehl was against the fascist groups and was an active participant in Portland’s protests that are currently on.
The Patriot Prayer group has a Twitter account containing 16,000 followers and a YouTube account named “Joey Gibson Patriot Prayer USA” with more than 50,000 subscribers.
It looks like Gibson had anticipated a reaction of this sort from Facebook. On Thursday, he took on to ‘Parler,’ a conservative social media networking platform, and requested the Patriot Prayer group members to support him by following him on “Parler.” “Facebook might ban me any minute,” was the statement written by Gibson.