Facebook announces ban of white nationalist and separatist content

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Facebook is taking a stronger stance when it comes to hateful content on its platform.

In the wake of the two Christchurch mosque killings in New Zealand a couple of weeks ago, the company made an announcement on its press blog stating that it would ban all white nationalist and separatist content from its platform.

“It’s clear that these concepts are deeply linked to organized hate groups and have no place on our services,” wrote Facebook.

More specifically the company explained that any content that praised, supported or was viewed as a representation of white nationalism or separatism would be banned from Facebook and Instagram (which they own).

They also cleared up their view on how white nationalism is different from the nationalism we’ve seen sweep across a number of countries in recent years.

“Our policies have long prohibited hateful treatment of people based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity or religion — and that has always included white supremacy. We didn’t originally apply the same rationale to expressions of white nationalism and white separatism because we were thinking about broader concepts of nationalism and separatism — things like American pride and Basque separatism, which are an important part of people’s identity,” Facebook wrote.

This new policy will take immediate effect, and under it, anyone who searches for hateful content on the Facebook platform will be redirected to the Life after Hate organisation, which aims to rehabilitate and assist those individuals who were previously part of a hate group.

Added to this will be a pop up notification letting users know that what they’re searching for infringes on the community guidelines of Facebook.

The firm is also aware of the tough task it has before it in terms of policing content, especially as there have been several instances where things have slipped past their radar previously.

“Unfortunately, there will always be people who try to game our systems to spread hate. Our challenge is to stay ahead by continuing to improve our technologies, evolve our policies and work with experts who can bolster our own efforts. We are deeply committed and will share updates as this process moves forward,” they said.

Regardless of that, it’s good to see Facebook take a firmer position when it comes to hateful content on their platforms.

“Going forward, while people will still be able to demonstrate pride in their ethnic heritage, we will not tolerate praise or support for white nationalism and white separatism,” their post concluded.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.