Facebook bans white nationalism following New Zealand mosque shooting

Facebook on Wednesday banned white nationalism and separatism from its social media platform following criticism that it hasn’t done enough to block hate speech.

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The move, announced in a blog post, comes almost two weeks after a mass shooting in New Zealand in which the suspected gunman -- who has been described by officials as a “right-wing extreme terrorist” -- killed 50 people during Friday prayer at two mosques, using Facebook to livestream the massacre.

“Over the past three months our conversations 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,” the company said in a blog post.

Beginning next week, users who search for terms associated with white supremacy will be instead directed to Life After Hate, a nonprofit group founded by former extremists who use crisis intervention, education, support groups and outreach to convince people to leave hate groups.

Although Facebook banned “white supremacy” on its platform, it previously explicitly allowed ‘white nationalism” and “white separatism,” as first reported by Motherboard.

The science and tech site said Facebook will use some of the same tactics it uses to surface and remove content associated with ISIS, Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups to remove white nationalist, separatist and supremacist content.

In 2017, following a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that turned deadly, Facebook reportedly considered banning white nationalists and separatists, but worried that such a ban would extend to black separatist groups, the Zionist movement and the Basque separatist movement.


"Going forward, while people will still be able to demonstrate pride in their ethnic heritage, we will not tolerate praise or support for white nationalism and separatism," the company said.