Over the past several weeks, Twitter has faced mounting backlash for refusing to ban right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. But, as proven this weekend, other far-right accounts are far from safe.
On Friday, the social media platform suspended a slew of accounts associated with the Proud Boys—a far-right group that’s become known for racially charged rhetoric as well as an affinity for Fred Perry polos. Buzzfeed News reports the Proud Boys founder, Gavin McInnes, was also banned from Twitter on Friday for violating its policy against hate speech.
“We can confirm that these accounts have been suspended from Twitter and Periscope for violating our policy prohibiting violent extremist groups,” a Twitter spokesperson told Buzzfeed.
The suspension took place just days before the second annual Unite the Right rally. McInnes and Proud Boys members reportedly attended the inaugural demonstration that left one counter-protester dead. This year’s rally will take place Sunday in Washington D.C. Though the protest is associated with shameless bigots, McInnes has attempted to distance the Proud Boys from the neo-Nazis and white supremacist movements; however, the groups’ actions have warranted a “hate group” designation by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Per the SPLC:
Their disavowals of bigotry are belied by their actions: rank-and-file Proud Boys and leaders regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists. They are known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric. Proud Boys have appeared alongside other hate groups at extremist gatherings like the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville.
As pointed out by Buzzfeed, Twitter has also suspended a slew of Proud Boys regional accounts, including @ProudBoysCA, @Proud_Boys_IL, @ProudBoysOR, and @ProudBoysNeb.
Following the suspensions, McInnes accused Twitter of targeting conservative accounts, and suggested it was part of some kind of effort to silence Donald Trump supporters.
“All this stuff is part of the conservative purge, getting the right off social media, to try to stop Trump from getting reelected. He’s already won; the ship has sailed,” he told Buzzfeed. “I think it will have zero effect on my reach or on the Proud Boys. We’ll always come back.”