Facebook blacklisted the conservative group “Patriot Prayer,” as well as the group’s leader, Joey Gibson Friday morning. The move by Facebook arrives in the wake of a Patriot Prayer member being murdered in Portland by an Antifa rioter.
Patriot Prayer is a Vancouver, Washington group known for staging confrontational events in urban centers. Patriot Prayer’s events, which often result in violence and street fighting, have historically attracted individuals from other extremist groups, including the Proud Boys and the neo-Nazi group Identity Evropa. Facebook told the Oregonian the purge is part of its “ongoing efforts to remove Violent Social Militias from our platform.”
The accounts were banned from Facebook less than one week after Patriot Prayer member Aaron “Jay” Danielson was fatally shot by self-professed Portland Antifa member Michael Forest Reinoehl.
After Danielson’s murder, Reinoehl was given a platform by Vice News via an interview in which the self-proclaimed Antifa member appeared to admit to shooting Danielson, stating that he “had no choice.”
“I hate to say it, but I see a civil war right around the corner,” said Reinoehl in the interview. Reinoehl had previously described himself in a social media post as “100% ANTIFA.”
Reinoehl was later killed by law enforcement on Thursday night after an arrest warrant had been issued by the Portland police. A subsequent claim reported by the Associated Press states that Reinoehl pulled a gun on the officers.
Gibson said that Facebook has not provided him with an explanation as to why the accounts were removed from the platform. Patriot Prayer’s Instagram account has also been deactivated. Instagram is subsidiary of Facebook
Facebook spokesperson Jen Ridings told the Oregonian that the social media platform removed the accounts as part of its “ongoing efforts to remove Violent Social Militias from our platform.”
The report added that Gibson is questioning why Antifa-linked Facebook accounts are still allowed to exist on the platform given Reinoehl’s self-proclaimed affiliation with the movement.
Gibson’s attorney, Angus Lee, said that Facebook’s decision to ban the accounts are a “very serious demonstration of the unchecked power of electronic oligarchs to control information,” reports the Oregonian.
“Obviously, Mr. Gibson is very upset right now and feels as though there is an effort to silence him,” added Lee.