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Facebook removes pages of right-wing group Patriot Prayer after Portland unrest

The social media giant said it took them down as part of efforts to remove "violent social militias" after an update to its policies last month.
Image: People on phones next to a Facebook logo projection on March 28.
Dado Ruvic / Reuters file
/ Source: Reuters

Facebook removed the pages of right-wing group Patriot Prayer and its founder, Joey Gibson, a company spokesman said Friday.

Patriot Prayer has hosted dozens of pro-gun, pro-Trump rallies, and attendees have repeatedly clashed with left-wing groups around Portland, Oregon, where one group supporter was killed this week.

Facebook took down the pages as part of efforts to remove "violent social militias" from its social networks, spokesman Andy Stone said.

The company updated its policies last month to ban groups that demonstrate significant risks to public safety.

Its dangerous organizations policy now includes groups that celebrate violent acts or suggest they will use weapons, even if they are not directly organizing violence.

Gibson, who espouses non-violence but is accused by anti-fascist groups of provoking confrontations, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

After the shooting he cautioned supporters not to seek revenge, but rather "push back politically, spiritually."

As of earlier this week, the Patriot Prayer page had nearly 45,000 followers on Facebook. It was created in 2017.

Facebook last week removed content associated with the Kenosha Guard, a group which had posted a "call to arms" in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The company acted the day after two people were shot and killed at protests in the city.