Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 May 2019

Facebook bans British far-right organisations

Organisations banned from the social media platform include the BNP, EDL and Britain First

At the end of March, Facebook said it would block “praise, support and repetition of white nationalism and separatism”. It also pledged to improve its ability to identify and block material from terrorist organisations. AP Photo
At the end of March, Facebook said it would block “praise, support and repetition of white nationalism and separatism”. It also pledged to improve its ability to identify and block material from terrorist organisations. AP Photo

Facebook says it is banning several high-profile British far-right websites, in a crackdown under the company’s “dangerous individuals and organisations” policy.

Among the groups that have been banned from posting on Facebook and Instagram are the English Defence League (EDL), Britain First and the British Nationalist Party (BNP). Knights Templar International, National Front and National Action, will also be banned, along with their leaders and spokespeople.

In the past, Knights Templar International has used Facebook to help fund and equip extremist vigilantes to capture immigrants in eastern Europe.

Supporting the banned far-right groups is now against the website’s guidelines too.

In total 12 individuals were prohibited from using Facebook and Instagram, including EDL leader Nick Griffin, Britain First leader Paul Golding, and former deputy leader Jayda Fransen.

The far-right activist Jack Renshaw, a former spokesperson for the proscribed terrorist organisation National Action, was also among the banned individuals.

Facebook says that the decision, which came into force today, had been taken because it bans users that "proclaim a violent or hateful mission or are engaged in acts of hate or violence".

“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. 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," Facebook said in a statement.

“The individuals and organisations we have banned today violate this policy, and they will no longer be allowed a presence on Facebook or Instagram. 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.”

Responding to the ban, Nick Griffin, the former chairman of the BNP said on Twitter: “How much longer before Twitter follow suit?” before urging followers to join him to “help build the free speech resistance”.

Brendan Cox, activist and widower of Jo Cox, the Labour MP who was murdered by a far-right fanatic in June 2016, was disappointed in how long it took the social media platform to ban the far right groups, tweeting:

At the end of last month, the social media network said it would block “praise, support and repetition of white nationalism and separatism”. It also pledged to improve its ability to identify and block material from terrorist organisations.

In late February, Facebook banned far-right activist Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, after finding the founder of the EDL breached hate speech rules.

Updated: April 18, 2019 08:10 PM

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