By Joseph Cox and Jason Koebler
Mar 27 2019, 9:00am
Facebook Bans White Nationalism and White Separatism
After a civil rights backlash, Facebook will now treat white nationalism and separatism the same as white supremacy, and will direct users who try to post that content to a nonprofit that helps people leave hate groups.
In a major policy shift for the world’s biggest social media network, Facebook banned white nationalism and white separatism on its platform Tuesday. Facebook will also begin directing users who try to post content associated with those ideologies to a nonprofit that helps people leave hate groups, Motherboard has learned. …
Last year, a Motherboard investigation found that, though Facebook banned “white supremacy” on its platform, it explicitly allowed “white nationalism” and “white separatism.” After backlash from civil rights groups and historians who say there is no difference between the ideologies, Facebook has decided to ban all three, two members of Facebook’s content policy team said.
“We’ve had conversations with more than 20 members of civil society, academics, in some cases these were civil rights organizations, experts in race relations from around the world,” Brian Fishman, policy director of counterterrorism at Facebook, told us in a phone call. “We decided that the overlap between white nationalism, [white] separatism, and white supremacy is so extensive we really can’t make a meaningful distinction between them. And that’s because the language and the rhetoric that is used and the ideology that it represents overlaps to a degree that it is not a meaningful distinction.”
Specifically, Facebook will now ban content that includes explicit praise, support, or representation of white nationalism or separatism. Phrases such as “I am a proud white nationalist” and “Immigration is tearing this country apart; white separatism is the only answer” will now be banned, according to the company. Implicit and coded white nationalism and white separatism will not be banned immediately, in part because the company said it’s harder to detect and remove.
A conundrum: Can you post Facebook’s list of what you can’t post on Facebook on Facebook?
[Comment at Unz.com]
… Heidi Beirich, head of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) Intelligence Project, told Motherboard last year that “white nationalism is something that people like David Duke [former leader of the Ku Klux Klan] and others came up with to sound less bad.”
… Keegan Hankes, a research analyst for the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, added, “One thing that continually surprises me about Facebook, is this unwillingness to recognize that even if content is not explicitly racist and violent outright, it [needs] to think about how their audience is receiving that message.”