Facebook Bans Blackface, Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories

Facebook has responded to the outage prompted by the anti-Semitic tweets of grime musician Wiley last month, by making some changes to its content policies.

The updated policies affect both the Facebook and Instagram platforms, and essentially will tackle posts containing depictions of “blackface” and common anti-Semitic stereotypes and conspiracy theories.

For his offensive tweets and posts which he was unrepentant, Wiley was permanently banned by Twitter, after his account had been briefly suspended.

Updated policies

Such was the outage triggered by his posts, that politicians and celebrities staged a 48 hour boycott of Twitter over the time it took the platform to tackle Wiley’s anti-Semitic tweets.

Facebook followed Twitter and later deleted Wiley’s Facebook and Instagram profiles for “repeated violations” of its policies.

And now the platform has made some additional changes.

“We’re also updating our policies to more specifically account for certain kinds of implicit hate speech, such as content depicting blackface, or stereotypes about Jewish people controlling the world,” explained Facebook’s vice-president of integrity, Guy Rosen in a blog post.

“We also continued to prioritize the removal of content that violates our policy against hate groups,” he added.

Advertising boycott

Facebook itself has faced intense pressure over its position on race and hate speech in the past few months, that led to an advertising boycott of the platform by some big name firms.

Indeed, over 1,000 well known brands announced they were suspending their advertising on the platform, including Ben and Jerry’s, Ford, Adidas, HP, Coca Cola, North Face, Verizon, Unilever and Starbucks.

The ‘Stop Hate for Profit’ campaign was organised by a number of US civil rights groups including the Anti-Defamation League, NAACP and Color of Change.

Last year Facebook had banned a number of groups and individuals associated with the far right for “spreading hate” on its platform.

Facebook also previously banned “praise, support and representation of white nationalism and white separatism on Facebook and Instagram.”

Quiz: Think you know all about Facebook?

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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