San Francisco (AFP)

Facebook announced Friday that it has removed from its platforms networks of far-right groups that plan to infiltrate protests against police violence in the United States.

Called "Proud Boys" and "American Guard", the two networks were made up of dozens of Facebook and Instagram accounts.

"We were already working on these groups and the associated pages, with the idea of ​​removing them within a week or two," said Brian Fishman, director of the unit for combating dangerous organizations at Facebook. .

"But when we saw that they were posting content related to the protests and organizing themselves to physically go and take part in it, in some cases with weapons, we accelerated our investigation and the removal of the accounts," he said. detailed at a press conference.

Brian Fishman did not indicate to what extent these organizations were widely followed or not.

His division focuses on the content of content to make these kinds of decisions, like "hate speech" in this case.

"American Guard" had 80 accounts on Facebook and 50 on Instagram, "Proud Boys" had 30 on each platform.

Protests against police brutality and racism have been held across the United States since the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, on May 25.

In Las Vegas, three far-right activists were indicted Wednesday for inciting violence during peaceful marches.

According to the services of the Nevada federal prosecutor, Nicholas Trutanich, the three men belonged to the movement "Boogaloo", "a term used by the extremists who promote the civil war and the fall of the company", and were in particular in possession of a Molotov cocktail.

"Violent actors have hijacked peaceful protests across the country, including Nevada, exploiting the real and legitimate anger aroused by Mr. Floyd's death in the service of their extremist agendas," prosecutor Trutanich said in a statement.

Facebook also banned a group called "Identity Europe", identified by Twitter as "falsely anti-fascist".

The Californian group, however, assured that there were no signs of foreign interference in the protests.

US Justice Minister Bill Barr said Thursday that "foreign agents" were seeking to "exacerbate violence" in the protests.

© 2020 AFP