Facebook bans white nationalist and separatist content

Originally Published: April 3, 2019 Last Updated: April 3, 2019

Facebook will no longer allow content supporting white nationalism and white separatism it announced in March 2019. The new policy change comes after Facebook was condemned for failing to stop the New Zealand white supremacist attacker's livestream showing the attack on mosques, which left 50 people dead.

  • Advocacy groups which had earlier labeled Facebook's previous policy “misguided, inconsistent, and dangerous” praised the change but said it was "long overdue”.
  • “There is no defensible distinction that can be drawn between white supremacy, white nationalism or white separatism,” said Kristen Clarke, the president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.“By maintaining this distinction, Facebook ended up providing violent racists a platform that could be exploited to promote hate.”
  • Advocates warned that how aggressively Facebook chose to implement this policy would determine whether its platform would continue to serve as a recruiting ground for white supremacists. Questions were raised as to whether Facebook would allow these racist groups to operate on more muted terms, or whether it would consider its past rhetoric to evaluate whether they should be allowed on the platform.
  • Facebook had originally seen white nationalism to be an acceptable as separate from white separatism. The platform equated white nationalism with the broader concept of nationalism such as American pride. However, after three months of consultation with academic experts, it concluded that white nationalism "cannot be meaningfully separated from white supremacy and organised hate groups".
  • “Going forward, while people will still be able to demonstrate pride in their ethnic heritage, we will not tolerate praise or support for white nationalism and separatism,” Facebook wrote.
  • Searches for certain keywords associated with white nationalism will also now direct users to Life After Hate, an organisation that helps people leave racist hate groups, Facebook said.