Facebook has decided to ban posts praising, supporting and representing white nationalism and white separatism from Facebook and Instagram. This comes as a major reversal from Facebook's earlier policy of differentiating between “white supremacy,” “white nationalism,” and “white separatism” posts.
Facebook said that although its policies prevented white supremacy posts and “hateful treatment of people based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity or religion,” it did not include posts and content related to “white nationalism” and “white separatism.”
“We didn’t originally apply the same rationale to expressions of white nationalism and white separatism because we were thinking about broader concepts of nationalism and separatism — things like American pride and Basque separatism, which are an important part of people’s identity,” Facebook said in its blog post.
Facebook had been under immense pressure from academics and activists for months to pull the plug on hatred spread in the form of posts related to white supremacy, white nationalism and white separatism. Even though Facebook doesn’t explicitly admit it, its decision to change the policy is clearly influenced by the recent Christchurch terrorist attack in New Zealand that killed 49 people. The attack was also live-streamed on Facebook.
Facebook has said that it will start enforcing this new policy next week. As a result, users trying to post or search content realted to white supremacy, white nationalism and white separatism will be redirected to lifeafterhate.org - a non-profit organisation founded by former far-right extremists to help people exit the violent far-right.
“Each year, more than 250,000 people in the United States are victims of hate crimes. The vast majority are violent and more than half go unreported. Between 2008 and 2017, 71 per cent of extremist-related fatalities in the U.S. were committed by members of the far right or white-supremacist movements,” Life After Hate says on its website.