Facebook has banned the Facebook and Instagram accounts of a white nationalist who attended the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that ended in deadly violence.
Facebook spokeswoman Ruchika Budhraja tells The Associated Press that the profile pages of Christopher Cantwell have been removed as well as a page connected to his podcast. Cantwell was featured in a Vice News documentary about the rally and its aftermath.
Facebook has also removed at least eight pages connected to the white nationalist movement over what Budhraja says were violations on the company's polices on hate speech and organizations.
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Cantwell, of Keene, New Hampshire, was listed on rally flyers and labeled an extremist by the Southern Poverty Law Center. A former information technology worker who moved to New Hampshire from New York in 2012, the 36-year-old Cantwell describes himself as a white nationalist and said he voted for President Donald Trump. He has a podcast and blog that promote his views.
Cantwell says Facebook shut down his account in an attempt to silence him for his views. He also said his PayPal account had been closed. The company wouldn't confirm that because it has a policy of not commenting on the status of accounts.
"I'm not surprised by almost any of this because the whole thing we are complaining about here is that we are trying to express our views, and everybody is going through extraordinary lengths to make sure we are not heard," Cantwell said in a phone interview from an undisclosed location.
"Frankly, whatever you think of my views, that is very scary to me," he said. "Facebook and Instagram is one thing but not being able to participate in the financial system because of your political opinions is something that, you know, people should worry about in America."
In response to the Charlottesville rally and protests, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg addressed racism in America and shared his experiences in a post on the social media site.