Facebook bans far-right UK figures, groups
LONDON: Social media giant Facebook has permanently banned various far-right groups and individuals, the company said on Thursday.
The banned groups include the xenophobic and Islamophobic British National Party (BNP), the English Defence League (EDL), and Britain First.
“Individuals and organisations who spread hate, or attack or call for the exclusion of others on the basis of who they are, have no place on Facebook,” a statement from the social media platform said.
“Under our dangerous individuals and organisations policy, we ban those who proclaim a violent or hateful mission or are engaged in acts of hate or violence,” it said.
The statement said: “The individuals and organisations we have banned today violate this policy, and they will no longer be allowed a presence on Facebook or Instagram.”
“Posts and other content which expresses praise or support for these figures and groups will also be banned.”
“Our work against organised hate is ongoing and we will continue to review individuals, organisations, pages, groups and content against our community standards,” Facebook added.
The banned groups and individuals include the BNP and its former Chairman Nick Griffin, Britain First and its leader Paul Golding and former deputy leader Jayda Fransen, the EDL and member Paul Ray, so-called Knights Templar International and the far-right figure Jim Dowson, the National Front and its leader Tony Martin, and Jack Renshaw, a former spokesperson for the banned terrorist organization National Action.
The move comes two months after Facebook designated the far-right Islamophobe Tommy Robinson (Stephen Yaxley-Lennon), who is an adviser to now-far-right UK Independence Party (UKIP), as a “dangerous individual,” deleting his accounts.
Labour MP Yvette Cooper, the head of parliament’s Home Affairs Committee, called the ban “long overdue.”
“These measures are a necessary first step but there should additionally be independent regulation, as well as meaningful financial penalties for companies who are too slow to deal with illegal, violent and extremist content within a strict timeframe,” she said.
“All companies need to be accountable for the material they host or publish and take some responsibility,” she added.
“We all know the appalling consequences there can be if hateful, violent, and illegal content is allowed to proliferate,” Cooper also said.
Racist incidents and crimes targeting Muslim and Jewish communities have spiked following the 2016 Brexit referendum. Far-right groups often spread fake news to propagate on social media platforms. (AA)