Facebook Bans Far Right Groups

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Hate crackdown continues as Facebook bans Nick Griffin, Britain First, BNP and National Front

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

The ban includes a number of well known groups and individuals such as the British National Party (BNP) and its former leader Nick Griffin, as well as the English Defence League and the National Front.

Facebook has increasingly tackled individual and groups that operate on the fringes. This time last year Facebook deleted over a hundred accounts linked to a Russian news farm, known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA), which has been accused of trying to influence the 2016 US presidential elections.

Hate ban

But of late Facebook has been increasingly concentrating on the far right.

In late March Facebook had announced a ban of “praise, support and representation of white nationalism and white separatism on Facebook and Instagram.”

The announcement came after the social networking giant said it was taking a stand against hate, and came soon after the massacre of 50 people in mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand – an attack that was partly live streamed online.

Facebook’s latest ban came into effect at 12pm on Thursday this week, extends its ban beyond the groups and individuals specifically cited as hate organisations, reported the Guardian newspaper.

Facebook also reportedly said that posts and other content that “expresses praise or support” for them will also be banned, as will users who coordinate support for the groups.

“Individuals and organisations who spread hate, or attack or call for the exclusion of others on the basis of who they are, have no place on Facebook,” the firm is quoted as saying in a statement. “Under our dangerous individuals and organisations policy, we ban those who proclaim a violent or hateful mission or are engaged in acts of hate or violence.”

“The individuals and organisations we have banned today violate this policy, and they will no longer be allowed a presence on Facebook or Instagram,” it said. “Posts and other content which expresses praise or support for these figures and groups will also be banned. Our work against organised hate is ongoing and we will continue to review individuals, organisations, pages, groups and content against our community standards.”

So who exactly has been banned? Well the standout figures and organisations are as follows:

  • National Front and its leader Tony Martin
  • The British National Party and its ex-leader Nick Griffin
  • Britain First, its leader Paul Golding and former deputy leader Jayda Fransen
  • English Defence League and its founding member Paul Ray
  • Knights Templar International and its promoter Jim Dowson
  • Jack Renshaw, a neo-Nazi who plotted to murder a Labour MP

Other controversial figures, such as Tommy Robinson, were already banned in February.

Long overdue

The move comes amid continual pressure from governments around the world wanting social networking firms such as Twitter, Facebook and Google to crack down on hate speech and other extremist content.

Facebook’s decision was immediately welcomed by the Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who called it “long overdue”.

“These measures are a necessary first step but there should additionally be independent regulation, as well as meaningful financial penalties for companies who are too slow to deal with illegal, violent and extremist content within a strict timeframe,” Cooper was quoted by the Guardian as saying.

“All companies need to be accountable for the material they host or publish and take some responsibility,” she added. “We all know the appalling consequences there can be if hateful, violent and illegal content is allowed to proliferate.”

Quiz: Think you know all about Facebook?

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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