Facebook moves to ban white nationalism and white separatism
Social media giant Facebook is taking a major step towards eliminating hate speech and racism on its platform by banning content that references white separatism and white nationalism. The company has previously banned posts concerning white supremacy – the belief that white-skinned races are inherently superior to other ethnic groups – but this move goes further. White separatism argues that races should be kept separate from another, and white nationalism argues for national boundaries that are “traditionally” white (although the logic of these beliefs is clearly unsupported – America, Australia and other “traditionally white” countries only became so after colonisation and, often, genocide or slavery).
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These beliefs tragically made the news recently after a mass shooting in New Zealand, but there has been a string of similar incidents over the past few years. Facebook has been an unfortunate platform for some of these beliefs in this period. The shooter in New Zealand famously posted his racist manifesto on the site, and neo-Nazi’s rallying in Charlottesville, Virginia, used social media to protest the removal of a Confederate statue in 2017.
Cognizant of these factors, Facebook wrote the following in a blog post on Wednesday: “white nationalism and separatism cannot be meaningfully separated from white supremacy and organised hate groups.”
As a result of this decision, Facebook is looking to clean its site up, removing any content that references these beliefs. Additionally, users who search for white separatism or white nationalism will find themselves directed to resources that combat hate groups, such as life after hate.
Reaction to the announcement has been highly positive, with Colour of Change, a civil rights group, saying in a statement that it is “glad to see the company’s leadership take this critical step forward in updating its policy on white nationalism.”
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