Over the past two years, the social media giant Facebook has come under a lot of criticism for having been a platform that had been repeatedly misused by white nationalists and separatists to spew hate speech. During that time, the company expanded its fact-checking team and further beefed up their policies, but eventually, nothing came to pass. However, the events in Christchurch earlier this month and the fact that the white supremacist attacker live streamed his attack on Facebook made it particularly difficult for the company to avoid blame. World leaders questions Facebook on how the video was uploaded, and although the company did remove all the videos on its platform, it had already been watched by millions of people. \
However, it seems that the company has now decided to take a drastic step in its quest to make Facebook and Instagram a far safer space for everyone involved. The company has announced that starting from next week; Facebook is going to ban any kind of speech that is in line with white nationalism and separatism. In a blog post titled ‘Standing Against Hate,’ Facebook stated,
“Today we’re announcing a ban on praise, support, and representation of white nationalism and white separatism on Facebook and Instagram, which we’ll start enforcing next week. It’s clear that these concepts are deeply linked to organized hate groups and have no place on our services.”
This is a dramatic U-turn from Facebook. In the past, the social media giant had stated that certain forms of white nationalist content on its platform were not deemed to be either racist or in violation of the company’s hate speech rules. As a matter of fact, it had gone so far as to state that white nationalism is as much a legitimate form of political expression as other forms of separatist movements in the world like the one in Basque in Spain.
However, the company states that despite their past assertions they are of the view that it is not possible to separate white nationalism from white supremacy and they came to a conclusion after consulting experts over the past three months. The Christchurch mosque attack video footage has landed in the company in hot water as well and other than the censure it has received from world leaders, it is now being sued by some Muslim groups for allowing the video on its platform.