Facebook bans content related to white nationalism & separatism after pressure from civil rights groups

Facebook has announced that it will ban praise, support, and representation of white nationalism and separatism on Facebook and Instagram. In a blog post announcing the ban, Facebook said that conversations with academics and civil rights groups informed its decision to expand its policies beyond white supremacy, which had previously been banned. Moving forward people searching for terms associated with white supremacy will be redirected to the website of "Life After Hate", an organization founded by former violent extremists that provides crisis intervention, education, support groups and outreach.

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Company non-response
3 September 2019

Facebook did not respond to allegations by Media Matters for America

Article
15 August 2019

For five years, Facebook has let a white supremacist dog whistle thrive

Author: Natalie Martinez, Media Matters for America

Since 2014, right-wing Facebook pages have used the word “invasion” to push hateful rhetoric targeting Muslim and Latinx immigrants... Anti-immigrant "invasion" narratives gained traction on right-wing Facebook pages in 2014 when Barack Obama was President... Anti-immigrant “invasion” posts in 2014 followed a template: fearmonger about Latin American immigrants coming to the U.S. and blame Obama for it... On Facebook, anti-immigrant attacks spread alongside anti-Muslim conspiracy theories inspired by white supremacist ideology... Over the past year, right-wing pages have implemented this white supremacist dog whistle in reaction to two major news cycles: the Trump administration’s family separation policies from May to July 2018 and the caravans of Central American migrants and asylum-seekers heading toward the southern U.S. border in October and November... Facebook’s current hate speech guidelines in its community standards extend “some protections for immigration status.”... Even though the company has policies that seem to prohibit most if not all “invasion” content, Facebook still allows it to exist and spread on its platform. In March, Facebook claimed it did not consider a post pushing white supremacist claims about a “Muslim Invasion” in the U.K. to be a violation of its community standards. A year after leaked documents revealed that Facebook allowed praise for white nationalism and separatism on its platform after the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA, the company implemented a so-called white nationalist ban.

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Article
19 April 2019

Facebook bans far-right groups including BNP, EDL & Britain First

Author: Alex Hern, The Guardian

Facebook has permanently banned a number of far-right organisations and individuals including the British National party (BNP), the English Defence League (EDL) and Britain First under its “dangerous individuals and organisations” policy. The ban... extends beyond the groups and individuals specifically cited as hate organisations: posts and other content that “expresses praise or support” for them will also be banned, as will users who coordinate support for the groups... n a statement, Facebook said: “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... Our work against organised hate is ongoing and we will continue to review individuals, organisations, pages, groups and content against our community standards.”

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Article
10 April 2019

Canada: Facebook bans far-right commentator & white nationalist groups under its 'dangerous individuals & organizations' policy

Author: Kathleen Harris, CBC News (Canada)

"Facebook bans Faith Goldy and 'dangerous' alt-right groups", 8 Apr 2019

Facebook is banning far-right political commentator Faith Goldy, white nationalist crusader Kevin Goudreau and various extremist groups, the social media company said... The company said it has long-standing policies on extremist content and organized hate groups and is barring the individuals and organizations under its "dangerous individuals and organizations" community standards policy. "Individuals and organizations who spread hate, attack, or call for the exclusion of others on the basis of who they are have no place on Facebook. That's why we have a policy on dangerous individuals and organizations, which states that we do not allow those who are engaged in offline 'organized hate' to have a presence on Facebook," [said] Facebook. "The individuals and organizations we have banned today violate this policy, and they will no longer be allowed a presence on our services. Our work against organized hate is ongoing and we will continue to review individuals, pages, groups and content against our community standards." ... The company said it also intends to remove content affiliated with those banned.. CBC News contacted Twitter to ask if Goldy would be banned... but received a..."no comment" in reply... Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould said..."We are pleased that Facebook has made this decision and would hope that other platforms would look to Facebook's actions."... 

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Article
8 April 2019

So. Africa: Questions raised on the scope of Facebook's ban of white nationalism & separatism in relation to apartheid-supportive content

Author: Tim Cohen, Business Maverick

"Facebook's South Africa problem: Just what exactly is 'white nationalism'?", 8 April 2019.

Facebook, under enormous pressure to be more conscious about the content on the platform, has recently announced that beginning immediately it will start taking down posts that support white nationalism and white separatism. But what exactly is 'white nationalism' and how would it apply in South Africa?...

The change has happened in the wake of the terrorist attack, live-streamed on Facebook, on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand that killed 50 people...It also comes in the wake of an editorial published in the Washington Post by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg calling for greater government regulation — a move that elicited a wide range of responses ranging from guarded support to outright cynicism...the change was in fact a response to leaked internal training documents for Facebook moderators which banned white supremacist content, but allowed white separatist and white nationalist content because the organisation believed that a general rule forbidding white nationalism and separatism would inadvertently ensnare other, legitimate movements like "black separatist groups, and the Zionist movement, and the Basque movement"...From now on, people will still be able to demonstrate pride in their ethnic heritage, but "we will not tolerate praise or support for white nationalism and separatism", Facebook said...All of this constitutes a huge change for Facebook, which until recently regarded itself primarily as a platform, pure and simple, and not a content producer, and that its users were ultimately responsible for their own contributions...

How would Facebook deal with an organisation such as AfriForum, for example, that would not consider itself to be a white separatist organisation, but certainly at least partially defends apartheid? Facebook does have a list of designated organisations, but Casseus [Facebook's public policy manager] says he is personally not familiar with AfriForum and would be seeking to learn more.

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Article
28 March 2019

Facebook bans white nationalism from platform after pressure from civil rights groups

Author: David Ingram and Ben Collins, NBCnews

"Facebook bans white nationalism from platform after pressure from civil rights groups," 27 March 2019

[Facebook] said in a blog post Wednesday that conversations with academics and civil rights groups convinced the company to expand its policies around hate groups... Scrutiny of Facebook reached new heights in the past two weeks after a gunman in Christchurch, New Zealand, used Facebook to livestream his attacks on two mosques that killed 50 people... Facebook's policies [had previously] banned white supremacy but allowed white nationalism and white separatism... Facebook has previously taken action in the wake of race-based violence, removing links to a white supremacist website and taking down a page used to organize the "Unite The Right" rally in 2017...

"Facebook's update should move Twitter, YouTube, and Amazon to act urgently to stem the growth of white nationalist ideologies, which find space on platforms to spread the violent ideas and rhetoric that inspired the tragic attacks witnessed in Charlottesville, Pittsburgh, and now Christchurch," [said] Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change. A Twitter representative Wednesday declined to say whether the company was considering adopting a similar change. Amazon and YouTube did not immediately respond to requests for comment... On Tuesday, Ime Archibong, Facebook's vice president of product partnerships, revealed some details about a new oversight board that the company is forming to provide guidance on its "most challenging and contentious content decisions" and "hold us publicly accountable if we don't get them right."... “The board, as currently envisioned, will consist of about 40 global experts with experience in content, privacy, free expression, human rights, journalism and safety."

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Article
28 March 2019

Facebook blog piece announces ban on white nationalism & separatism

Author: Facebook

"Standing Against Hate", 27 March 2019

We're announcing a ban on praise, support and representation of white nationalism and separatism on Facebook and Instagram, which we'll start enforcing next week... [O]ur conversations with members of civil society and academics...who are experts in race relations... have confirmed that white nationalism and separatism cannot be meaningfully separated from white supremacy and organized hate groups... 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 separatism... We also need to get better and faster at finding and removing hate from our platforms... We're making progress, but we know we have a lot more work to do... [W]e'll also start connecting people who search for terms associated with white supremacy to resources focused on helping people leave behind hate groups. People searching for these terms will be directed to Life After Hate, an organization founded by former violent extremists that provides crisis intervention, education, support groups and outreach... 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.

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Article
28 March 2019

Facebook now bans white nationalism and separatism, not just white supremacy

Author: Hanna Kozlowska

Facebook is banning white nationalism and white separatism from its platforms, eliminating the controversial distinction it had historically drawn between those ideologies and white supremacy... Facebook has always prohibited white supremacy as an example of "hateful treatment of people based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity, or religion," the company explained. It did not extend this logic to white nationalism and separatism because it saw them as examples of the broader concepts of nationalism and separatism... Last year, this distinction was laid bare in training documents for Facebook content moderators that leaked to Motherboard. Experts and anti-hate groups critical of the policy pointed out that these ideologies overlap, and that the distinction was a technicality...The platform will connect people searching for terms associated with white supremacy with the group Life After Hate, which is run by former extremists and helps people leave hate groups.

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Article
27 March 2019

Facebook bans white nationalism & separatism content from its platforms

Author: Sasha Ingber, NPR

Facebook announced Wednesday that it intends to ban content that glorifies white nationalism and separatism, a major policy shift that will begin next week... Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the National Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, tells NPR that "[f]or too long, Facebook has maintained a policy that carved out an indefensible distinction between white supremacy and white nationalism and white separatism, and that carve-out allowed violent white supremacists to openly exploit the platform to incite violence across the country and frankly across the globe."

... Vera Eidelman, staff attorney with the ACLU [ said], "White supremacist, nationalist and separatist views are repugnant, and Facebook as a private company is well within its rights to remove such hate and bigotry from its platform. Indeed, any content that crosses the line into incitement or true threats is not protected speech... [however] Facebook runs the risk of censoring those that attack white nationalism, too... every time Facebook makes the choice to remove content, a single company is exercising an unchecked power to silence individuals and remove them from what has become an indispensable platform... For the same reason that the Constitution prevents the government from exercising such power, we should be wary of encouraging its exercise by corporations that are answerable to their private shareholders rather than the broader public interest."

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