Facebook has permanently banned the UK’s biggest far-right organizations and leaders, saying they fall under the social network’s new definition of “dangerous individuals and organizations.”
Groups affected by the ban include the British National party (BNP), English Defence League (EDL), and Britain First. Twelve individuals have also been permanently removed from the site, including the BNP’s former chairman Nick Griffin; leader of Britain First, Paul Golding; former deputy leader of Britain First, Jayda Fransen; and leader of the fascist National Front party Tony Martin.
“Individuals and organizations who spread hate, or attack or call for the exclusion of others on the basis of who they are, have no place on Facebook,” said the social network in a statement. “Under our dangerous individuals and organizations policy, we ban those who proclaim a violent or hateful mission or are engaged in acts of hate or violence.”
The organizations and individuals affected, which also includes the Islamaphobic group Knights Templar International, will no longer be allowed on Facebook or Instagram.
The move follows Facebook’s recent ban of far-right UK activist Tommy Robinson (real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) in February. In March, the company also said it would be removing all white nationalist and white separatist content from its platforms, saying: “It’s clear that these concepts are deeply linked to organized hate groups and have no place on our services.”
The move to ban the UK’s far-right groups and leaders was welcomed by UK politicians. MP Yvette Cooper, chair of the Home Affairs Select committee, said the ban was “long overdue.”
“For too long social media companies have been facilitating extremist and hateful content online and profiting from the poison,” said Cooper in a press statement. “They have particularly failed on far-right extremism as they don’t even have the same co-ordination systems for platforms to work together as they do on Islamist extremism.”
In 2016, the British Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered by a Thomas Alexander Mair, an unemployed gardener with links to far-right organizations including the National Front. In court, Mair gave his name as “death to traitors, freedom for Britain.”