Facebook has announced it will take action against white supremacists and their content on the social media platform. This comes weeks after a terrorist with white-supremacist connections shot and killed dozens of people in mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and live-streamed the bulk of his hateful attack on Facebook.
Until now, Facebook had restricted white supremacist content, but allowed what it deemed to be “white separatist” or “white nation” content, stating that these sort of assertions could fall into the category of wider concepts of “national pride” like “American pride” or “Basque separatism” which it asserted can be important parts of people’s identity, without being xenophobic. However in a statement explaining the results of a three-month project undertaken jointly with civil society organisations, the Californian company said that white nationalism or separatist content could not be seen as unconnected to white supremacy or organised groups spreading hatred.
Facebook didn’t give specific details as to how they plan on patrolling or controlling this type of content. Whilst some civil rights groups lauded the measures, they received a mixed reception, with some finding the delay since the Christchurch attack unacceptable.