Facebook has finally stepped up to the plate, announcing its intentions to ban the praise, support, and representation of white nationalism and white separatism on Facebook and Instagram.
According to a news release from the social media company, the ban is expected to go into full effect next week.
“It’s clear that these concepts are deeply linked to organized hate groups and have no place on our services,” the company said in a statement. “Our policies have long prohibited hateful treatment of people based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity or religion — and that has always included white supremacy.”
Facebook acknowledged that it didn’t always apply the same rationale to hate speech in terms of white nationalism and white separatism due to broader concepts addressing things like American pride. However, the company noted, after speaking with experts on race relations, they have finally come to the conclusion that “white nationalism and white separatism cannot be meaningfully separated from white supremacy and organized 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 white separatism,” the statement added.
The company also acknowledged that it had to get better and be swifter when it comes to finding and removing expressions of hate from its platforms, adding that it has improved using artificial intelligence to expedite this process, but also noting that there is more to be done.
And Facebook is not just banning support of white nationalism, it is also seeking to redirect the hate. As such, people who search for terms associated with white supremacy on its platforms will be redirected to resources that help people leave behind these types of groups. Individuals will be redirected to Life After Hate, an organization founded by former extremists, committed to helping and supporting people leave the violent far-right and lean into compassion through education, interventions, academic research, and outreach.
“Unfortunately, there will always be people who try to game our systems to spread hate. Our challenge is to stay ahead by continuing to improve our technologies, evolve our policies and work with experts who can bolster our own efforts,” the release said. We are deeply committed and will share updates as this process moves forward.”