Facebook and Instagram announced a ban on posts that involve “support and representation of white nationalism and separatism.”
The social networking giant announced the ban on Wednesday and will begin enforcing it next week.
“It’s clear that these concepts are deeply linked to organised hate groups and have no place on our services,” a post by Facebook, which owns Instagram, said. “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.”
The announcement was backed by British Home Secretary Said Javid, who wrote on Twitter: “Encouraging to see social media companies taking action to tackle extremism online – but this content really shouldn’t have been available in the first place. We will be introducing new laws to ensure tech companies do more”.
Facebook did not at first extend that ban to white nationalism out of concern that it could also end up censoring movements like Basque separatism or pride in the United States. But conversations with experts convinced the company that “white nationalism and separatism cannot be meaningfully separated from white supremacy and organised 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,” the post added.
Facebook also announced that it would begin connecting people who search for hateful terms to resources that help people leave hate groups.
Last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sparked backlash when he said the site would not remove posts denying the Holocaust.
Encouraging to see social media companies taking action to tackle extremism online – but this content really shouldn’t have been available in the first place. We will be introducing new laws to ensure tech companies do more https://t.co/gu2xTjstTK
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) March 28, 2019