Facebook Bans White Nationalism and White Separatism on Its Platforms

Facebook on Wednesday banned praise, support and representation of white nationalism and white separatism, a move that drew qualified approval from New Zealand where a massacre of 50 people in mosques was live streamed earlier this month, Reuters informed.

Civil rights groups have said social media giants have failed to confront extremism and that was under the spotlight this month after a suspected white supremacist broadcast live footage of his attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Facebook, Twitter Inc and Alphabet’s YouTube have been under pressure to remove white supremacist and neo-Nazi content from their platforms, along with fake news and other types of abusive posts.

In order to do that, Facebook beefed up its content monitoring teams and taken down event pages that were used to promote and organize rallies by white supremacist groups.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has called for social media platforms to be accountable for what users post, said material covered by the measures should arguably have already been banned under Facebook’s hate-speech rules.

“Having said that, I’m pleased to see that they are including it, and that they have taken that step, but I still think that there is a conversation to be had with the international community about whether or not enough has been done,” she told a media conference in Christchurch on Thursday.

According to Financial Times, Australia has threatened to introduce tough criminal penalties, including prison sentences for executives, on social media companies that fail to ensure their products are safe and prevent the live streaming of terror attacks.

Scott Morrison, Australia’s prime minister, said this week his government is drafting laws aimed at preventing social media platforms from being “weaponized” with terror content.

A meeting between government officials and the companies on Wednesday broke up without any indication that the government would back away from legislating.

Facebook has long banned white supremacy under its rules on “hateful” content, but did not previously consider white nationalist or separatist content to be explicitly racist, Reuters adds.

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