Facebook bans number of far-right groups, individuals

British National Party, Britain First, English Defence League among organisations targeted for being ‘dangerous’

Facebook: We ban those who proclaim a violent or hateful mission or are engaged in acts of hate or violence. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Facebook: We ban those who proclaim a violent or hateful mission or are engaged in acts of hate or violence. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

 

Facebook has permanently banned a swathe of far-right organisations and individuals under its “dangerous individuals and organisations” policy.

The ban, which came into effect at midday on Thursday, extends beyond the groups and individuals 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.

Twelve individuals and accounts have been banned by the site: the British National Party and its former chairman Nick Griffin; Britain First, its leader, Paul Golding, and former deputy leader Jayda Fransen; the English Defence League and Paul Ray; Knights Templar International and Jim Dowson; the National Front and Tony Martin; and the far-right activist Jack Renshaw, a former spokesperson for the proscribed terrorist organisation National Action.

In 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.

“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.”

When Facebook initially banned Britain First in early 2018 it was for repeated breaches of the site’s posting policies, and did not reach the level of designating the it as a dangerous organisation. That ban came a few months after the group had ceased to be a political party.

But, according to a source familiar with Facebook’s moderation, the community standards will continue to apply even if one of the newly proscribed individuals runs for or assumes political office, since the company has a clear policy that politicians must follow the same rules as other organisations.

The latest bans come two months after Facebook designated the far-right activist Tommy Robinson – whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – as a dangerous individual, deleting his accounts on the site and on Instagram.

A month later, YouTube also took action, drastically limiting the availability of robinson videos on the site: they are now removed from search and algorithmic recommendations, comments are disabled, and users must click through a warning to view. – Guardian