Facebook Removes ‘Patriot Prayer’ Pages As Violent Social Militia
The social network Facebook says that they’re removing what they term “violent social militia” groups and pages from their website. One of the groups included in that list is Patriot Prayer — to which Aaron J. Danielson belonged, and with whom he attended the protest in Portland, Oregon, where he was killed.
Aaron Danielson was wearing a Patriot Prayer hat when he was shot during a protest in Portland, where Trump supporters, right-wing groups, and white supremacists faced off with Black Lives Matter supporters. From their vehicles, the group waving Trump flags fired paintballs at BLM protestors, who returned a volley of projectiles of their own. According to the Washington Post, accounts of Danielson’s death differ, with a Patriot Prayer member who was present describing it as a targeted attack based on their hats, and witnesses supporting the BLM protestors pointing out that it was only after he sprayed bear mace at those around him that shots rang out, and Danielson fell.
The suspected shooter, Michael Forest Reinoehl, was killed by police during his arrest.
Now, Facebook is moving to eliminate militia groups that plan these events. New York Times reporter Davey Alba shared on Twitter Friday that a spokesperson for the social media site had explained the reason.
New: Facebook has removed the pages of right-wing group Patriot Prayer. FB spox tells me, “They were removed as part of our ongoing efforts to remove Violent Social Militias from our platform.”
— Davey Alba (@daveyalba) September 4, 2020
Facebook said last month that they would begin removing “Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts tied to offline anarchist groups that support violent acts amidst protests, US-based militia organizations and QAnon.” The site further explained that while they already remove those openly calling for violence, they also recognize the existence of “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.”