Facebook announced on Wednesday (March.27th), via a blog post, that it will ban “praise, support and representation of white nationalism and separatism” on Facebook and Instagram from next week.
The move comes after the company promised to identify and ban material by terrorist groups after it was accused of failing to tackle extremism on its platform.
Facebook users searching for offending words will be redirected to a charity which aims to combat far-right extremism.
The social media network has recently come under intense criticism from the media and politicians for failing to detect a live-streamed video of an attack on a Mosque in New Zealand earlier this month.
Facebook had previously allowed some white nationalist content it did not view as racist – including permission for users to call for the creation of white ethno-states.
The company said it had previously viewed white nationalist content as an acceptable form of expression on par with “things like American pride and Basque separatism, which are an important part of peoples’ identity.”
White nationalism and separatism
However, over the last three months, the social media network said: “Our conversations with members of civil society and academics who are experts in race relations around the world have confirmed that white nationalism and separatism 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.”
In the wake of the Christchurch mosque shooting, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, called for social media platforms to be held more accountable for the extremist content posted on their sites.
“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 was quoted by Reuters as telling a media conference in Christchurch on Thursday.
“There are lessons to be learnt here in Christchurch and we don’t want anyone to have to learn those lesson over again,” she reportedly said.