Facebook, Instagram Banning White Nationalism

Facebook announced it will start banning praise, support and representation of white nationalism and separatism on both Facebook and Instagram beginning next week.

The company said in a statement that it’s clear these concepts are deeply linked to organized hate groups and have no place on its services.

Facebook says 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. The company didn’t originally apply the same rationale to expressions of white nationalism and separatism because it placed these among broader concepts of nationalism and separatism — things like American pride and Basque separatism, which are an important part of people’s identity.

But over the past three months, discussions 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 organized hate groups. While people will still be able to demonstrate pride in their ethnic heritage, Facebook said it will not tolerate praise or support for white nationalism and separatism.

Facebook says it needs to get better and faster at finding and removing hate from its platforms. Over the past few years, the company has improved use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to find material from terrorist groups. Last fall, Facebook started using similar tools to extend efforts to a range of hate groups globally, including white supremacists.