March 18, 2018

Facebook Bans Far-Right UK Political Party Over Hate Speech

15 March 2018, 12:35 | Opal Carroll

Facebook bans pages of Britain First and leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen

Facebook bans anti Islamic hate group Britain First

One recent investigation from Wired UK found a whole network of Facebook pages linked to Britain First sharing the same content.

The anti-Islamic group shared incendiary pictures, stories, and memes, largely relating to Muslims and complaints about a deemed breakdown in British society.

'With Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen jailed, there are already significant problems behind the scenes over access to the group's social media, website and bank accounts.

Late previous year, Twitter suspended the accounts of Britain First and its leaders as part of a crackdown on hate and abuse - and in the process deleted Trump's retweets of the videos Fransen had tweeted.

Facebook stated: "We do not do this lightly, but they have repeatedly posted content created to incite animosity and hatred against minority groups, which disqualifies the pages from our service".

Facebook said it was careful not to remove posts or pages just because they were controversial and some people didn't like them, but said that Britain First had gone further and broken its anti-hatred rules with its anti-Islam posts.

'We do not do this lightly, but they have repeatedly posted content created to incite animosity and hatred against minority groups, which disqualifies the Pages from our service'.

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Britain First won't be allowed to set up an official Facebook page in the future, Facebook said. "[But] there are times though when legitimate political speech crosses the line and becomes hate speech created to stir up hatred against groups in our society".

British Prime Minister Theresa May has been particularly vocal in demanding that social media companies act on extremist content.

Both the Britain First page and the personal profiles of Golding and Fransen have been deleted.

Golding and Fransen are actually now serving jail sentences over their rhetoric-18 weeks for Golding and 36 for Fransen.

"We are an open platform for all ideas and political speech goes to the heart of free expression".

On Monday, prior to Facebook's decision on Britain First, London Mayor Sadiq Khan - who has been the target of anti-Muslim sentiment from the far right - called on companies like Facebook and Twitter to take "greater responsibility" to stop the spread of hate speech, extremism and disinformation online.

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