Facebook Bans White Nationalism from Platform After Pressure from Civil Rights Groups

David Ingram and Ben Collins, NBC News, March 27, 2019

Facebook is banning white nationalism and white supremacy from its social network following criticism that it had not done enough to eliminate hate speech on its platform.

The social media giant said in a blog post Wednesday that conversations with academics and civil rights groups convinced the company to expand its policies around hate groups.

“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.”

Scrutiny of Facebook reached new heights in the past two weeks after a gunman in Christchurch, New Zealand, used Facebook to livestream his attacks on two mosques that killed 50 people.

Under Facebook’s change, people who search for terms associated with white supremacy will instead see a link to the page of Life After Hate, a nonprofit that helps people to leave hate groups, the company said.

The change was first reported earlier Wednesday by Vice Media’s tech publication Motherboard, which had previously found that Facebook’s policies banned white supremacy but allowed white nationalism and white separatism.

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On Tuesday, Ime Archibong, Facebook’s vice president of product partnerships, revealed some details about a new oversight board that the company is forming to provide guidance on its “most challenging and contentious content decisions” and “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,” Archibong wrote in a blog post. “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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