Over the last 10 years or so I’ve written a *lot* of articles criticising Facebook for its attitude to privacy, or highlighting security threats on the site
Of course, Facebook has grown into a colossus over that time, and while there continue to be concerns about Facebook it’s also true to say that the site has made important improvements in some areas, and has clearly put some effort into trying to educate its huge userbase about some of the threats that are out there.
One of the threats, as we all know these days, is just how easy it has been for people to disseminate lies and hate speech directed at minorities. Often times social networks have turned too much of a blind eye to this problem for my liking, washing their hands of responsibility or calling on communities to police content themselves by reporting offending posts to the site’s safety team in the (sometimes vain) hope of an appropriate and speedy response.
In light of that, thank you Facebook for taking action against the anti-Islamic group Britain First:
Content posted on the Britain First Facebook Page and the Pages of party leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen has repeatedly broken our Community Standards. We recently gave the administrators of the Pages a written final warning, and they have continued to post content that violates our Community Standards. As a result, in accordance with our policies, we have now removed the official Britain First Facebook Page and the Pages of the two leaders with immediate effect. We do not do this lightly, but they have repeatedly posted content designed to incite animosity and hatred against minority groups, which disqualifies the Pages from our service.
Offending content from Britain First and its leaders in the past have included Facebook posts which compared Muslim immigrants with animals, and videos designed to incite hatred against Muslims.
You may remember the vile group received international attention after one Donald Trump retweeted some of their videos designed to incite racial hatred last November. The United Kingdom was pretty much united in condemning that, I can tell you… while the White House attempted to defend them.
How effective Facebook will be at keeping Britain First and its leaders off their network for the long term remains to be seen. Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen were recently jailed for hate crimes, so one assumes that they’re not regularly updating their Facebook statuses at the moment.
But for now, I think we should be grateful that Facebook has chosen to take strong public stand against hate-fuelled speech.
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