On Wednesday, Facebook announced that it intends to ban content on its platform that promotes white nationalism and separatism. This is a major policy shift from Facebook that will begin starting next week. “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.
“Today 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,” the company wrote in the post. “It’s clear that these concepts are deeply linked to organized hate groups and have no place on our services.”
While Facebook previously banned white supremacy on its platform, it left a loophole that civil rights groups said promoted hate and racism. The company explained that it allowed expressions of white nationalism and separatism previously “because we were thinking about broader concepts of nationalism and separatism – things like American pride.” However, Facebook's thinking changed after discussions with civil society groups and race relations experts.
“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,” Facebook said in its post.
Next week, users who search for terms related to white supremacy and separatism will be directed to Life After Hate, a Chicago-based organization that was founded by former extremists who help people “leave violent far-right.” In a statement to The Jolt Journal, Tony McAleer, an ex-neo-Nazi, said, “When we're compassionate with someone, we hold up a mirror and allow them to see their humanity reflected back at them when they're incapable of seeing it on their own.”
Color of Change, an advocacy group has previously called on tech companies to do more to fight racial hatred, and called Facebook's decision to ban white nationalism and separatism a “critical step forward” that will benefit the country. “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,” Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, said in a statement.