The social media company said it removed the pages as part of an attempt to shut down more pages that lead to real-world violence. Gibson’s Instagram account was also removed.
“They were removed as part of our ongoing efforts to remove Violent Social Militias from our platform,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said.
Stone said Gibson’s personal account was removed because of its connection to Patriot Prayer, and it might be allowed to return if the page was unconnected to that group.
Gibson disputed Facebook’s decision in an emailed statement.
“Antifa groups murdered my friend while he was walking home, and instead of the multibillion dollar company banning Portland antifa pages they ban Patriot Prayer, Joey Gibson, and several other grandmas that are admins,” he said.
Facebook has also cracked down on pages belonging to supporters of the conspiracy theory QAnon, though it did not issue an outright ban on all related pages. It said it would limit the spread of QAnon posts and restricted 3,280 pages and groups in August. In June, Facebook removed hundreds of accounts associated with a violent network of followers of the far-right “boogaloo” movement, saying it was designating that faction as a “dangerous organization.”
Gibson’s group has ballooned in size during President Trump’s time in office and is especially active in the Pacific Northwest, where Gibson has held pro-Trump rallies for years.
Isaac Stanley-Becker contributed to this report.