Facebook bans ‘dangerous’ far-right groups to combat online hate

Facebook bans ‘dangerous’ far-right groups to combat online hate

Banned groups and individuals include convicted neo-Nazi Jack Renshaw, the British National Party and the English Defence League

Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Facebook has permanently banned far-right groups and individuals including the British National Party (BNP) and the English Defence League (EDL) for violating its rules around promoting hate and violence.

The banned groups, which also includes Knights Templar International, Britain First and the National Front as well as key members of their leadership, have been removed from both Facebook or Instagram.

The social network’s policy does not allow groups or individuals which engage in “terrorist activity, organised hate, mass or serial murder, human trafficking or organised violence or criminal activity”.

Convicted Neo-Nazi Jack Renshaw, who plotted to kill West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper and exact revenge on a female police officer who was investigating him for child sex offences, has also been banned.

“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,” a spokeswoman for the social network said.

“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.”

Former BNP leader Nick Griffin, Britain First leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen, EDL member Paul Ray, Knights Templar International’s Jim Dowson and the National Front’s Tony Martin have also been banned as part of the crackdown.

Golding and Fransen’s official pages were removed by Facebook last year for violating the site’s community standards, but the new ban will prevent them from having any presence on Facebook or Instagram, including a personal profile.

Praise and support by others for any of the groups or individuals named by Facebook will also no longer be allowed on either social platform.

The move was welcomed by the Board of Deputies, which tweeted: “Great news that Facebook have banned the far-right, including the BNP + EDL.

“Today we came across the BNP’s 1998 newsletter in our archives, complaining that their rally had been shut down by ‘a shadowy group of Nazis calling itself the Board of Deputies of British Jews’.

Anti-racism charity Hope Not Hate wrote in a post: “It is good that Facebook is (belatedly) making good on its commitment to remove hate groups from its platform.

“Taking away their ability to spread their bile makes a real world difference. Facebook has more to do – much more – but this is a welcome move.”

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