The recent New Zealand killings have clearly demonstrated the global reach of a white nationalist movement that preaches others regarding an imaginary European ideal. This is the movement that rejects immigration and is known to share vicious threat over the internet through social media. According to analysts, this movement has a huge following in the US, Canada, Europe, and Russia.
For this purpose, Facebook has banned any kind of praise, support, and representation of white nationalism as well as white separatism on its platforms including Instagram. In a statement on Wednesday, the social media giant stated that the policy will begin next week. It is clear that such concepts are strongly linked to organized hate groups and has no place in their services.
“It’s clear that these concepts are deeply linked to organised hate groups and have no place on our services,” a company statement said.
The decision taken by Facebook has been welcomed by New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who said that these categories must always fall within the community guidelines of hate speech. But it is positive that the clarification has been made in the wake of the recent mosque attacks. Previously Facebook allowed all kind of content with the concept that its freedom of expression. But the ban has not been applied to the expression of white nationalism because such expressions are linked with broader concepts of nationalism or political independence.
But after a conversation with the civil rights groups and academics led Facebook to conclude that the white nationalism and separatism cannot be meaningfully separated from white supremacy and organized hate groups. Facebook stated that any praise or support of white nationalism and separation will not be tolerated at all. Individuals searching for terms associated with white supremacy will be directed to resources that combat hate groups such as Life after Hate. This is the organization that was founded by former violent extremists that provide crises intervention, support groups, and education.
By taking down the hate content from its platform, Facebook has acknowledged that it needs to refine its strategies at identifying such content. There is a lot more work the company needs to do so the new policies need to be implemented from the next week.
According to the civil rights groups, it is good to see that the company’s leadership takes such a critical step forward in updating its policy on white supremacy and white separatism. The groups have also called upon other platforms including Twitter, YouTube, Amazon, etc. to act urgently for this purpose.