Facebook bans white nationalist and white separatist content

Facebook has banned praise, support, and representation of white nationalism and white separatism on both Facebook and Instagram.

The new measures start next week. In a 27 March statement, Facebook said that its policies have long prohibited hateful treatment of people based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity, or religion — and that has always included white supremacy.

However, until now Facebook has not been applied the same rationale to expressions of white nationalism and white separatism as it considered these as broader concepts of nationalism and separatism. Examples such as staunch American pride or the support of Basque separatism, are often viewed as important elements of a person's identity.

But after a three-month examination of the issue, Facebook has decided to draw a line and won't tolerate praise or support for white nationalism and white separatism anymore. Based on comments from experts in race relations, Facebook have confirmed that white nationalism and white separatism cannot be meaningfully separated from white supremacy and organised hate groups. There have also been noted overlaps between cases of white nationalism and white separatism with white supremacy.

In an effort to combat hate speech on its platform, Facebook had already been using machine learning and AI to identify materials from terrorist groups. This initiative expanded to filter content from white supremacists groups last year.

Additionally, users searching terms associated with white supremacy will be directed to Life After Hate, an organisation founded by former violent extremists providing crisis intervention, education, support, and outreach.