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Facebook Completely Bans White Nationalism And White Supremacy From Platform

Lynne Versluys 27 Mar 2019

In an unprecedented move by the social media platform, Facebook is finally banning white nationalism and white supremacy from their site.

A Growing Problem

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In recent years, hate speech, particularly white nationalism and white supremacy, has been on the rise on social media. While some may argue that they're "just words," it is becoming increasingly clear there are real-world​ ramifications as well.

For example, the perpetrator of the Christchurch terrorist​ attack live-streamed​ the violence on Facebook.

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Taking A Stand

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After increased pressure from civil rights groups to make a change, Facebook announced that they would be banning white nationalism and white supremacy from the platform going forward. They explained in a public 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. It’s clear that these concepts are deeply linked to organized hate groups and have no place on our services."

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A Zero Tolerance Perspective

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Facebook boasts over 2 billion users worldwide, so it's no small thing to attempt to wipe out these types of consumers. They continued in their announcement:

"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."

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A "Critical Step Forward"

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The move drew praise from different social justice groups, including Color of Change, "an advocacy group that has called on technology companies to do more to fight racial hatred." Organization president Rashad Robinson said:

"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."

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Will Other Platforms Follow?

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At this point, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram have made no similar moves to ban harmful content and have not made comments on Facebook taking the first step towards safety for its users.

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Taking The Issue Seriously

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Ime Archibong, Facebook’s vice president of product partnerships, explained that the new oversight initiative will make the "most challenging and contentious content decisions... hold us publicly accountable if we don’t get them right.”

"The board, as currently envisioned, will consist of about 40 global experts with experience in content, privacy, free expression, human rights, journalism, and safety. Where we need to, we will supplement member expertise through consultation with geographic and cultural experts to help ensure decisions are fully informed."

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