Community Issues

Facebook Bans Content that Promotes White Nationalism

Change in policy comes after New Zealand attacks, months of internal deliberations.

Facebook says content that celebrates or promotes white nationalism and separatism will be banned on its platforms, including Instagram.

"It's clear that these concepts are deeply linked to organized hate groups and have no place on our services," the company said in a statement.

The announcement is just two weeks after a self-proclaimed white nationalist allegedly committed a mass shooting at two mosques in New Zealand, leaving 50 people dead. Part of the attack was streamed on Facebook Live.

Previously, Facebook had banned "white supremacy," but says its views on the platform's Terms of Service evolved over the past three months because "conversations with members of civil society and academics who are experts in race relations around the world confirmed that white nationalism and white separatism cannot be meaningfully separated from white supremacy and organized hate groups."

Facebook also says it is continuing to develop artificial intelligence tools to identify and remove material from hate groups. Previously, the company said these tools failed in the wake of the New Zealand attacks.

Facebook will direct users who search for certain terms to "Life After Hate" and other resources. (Image courtesy Facebook)

In another step to combat hate online, Facebook said people searching for terms linked to white supremacy "will be directed to Life After Hate , an organization founded by former violent extremists that provides crisis intervention, education, support groups and outreach."

According to WIRED, "Facebook appears to be the first major platform to take a stance against white nationalism and separatism specifically." The magazine says Twitter and Youtube (a subsidiary of Google) did not respond to requests for comment about whether their platforms explicitly ban white nationalism or separatism.

Earlier this month, the Anti-Defamation League published a study looking at the best ways to combat hate online, specifically Twitter. The Tree of Life shooting suspect was found to have engaged in hate speech linked to white nationalism on the social media platform Gab.

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