In a dramatic change in politics, Facebook today announced that it is banning white nationalism and separatism on its platform. The decision, which was first reported by Motherboard comes just under two weeks after a white supremacist killed 50 people in Christchurch, New Zealand.
In a blog post, Facebook said that any "praise, support and representation of white nationalism and separatism" would be banned when the new policy comes into effect next week. "It is clear that these concepts are deeply linked to organized hate groups and have no place in our services," the blog said.
Facebook has banned the content of white supremacy for a while, but it has not included white nationalism or separatism until today. The racist and hateful content based on race, ethnic origin and religion has been banned under the previous policy, but under the new rules of Facebook, phrases like "Immigration is destroying this country; white separatism is the only answer "will also be forbidden."
"We originally did not apply the same reasoning to expressions of white nationalism and separatism because we were thinking about broader concepts of nationalism and separatism, things like American pride and Basque separatism, which are an important part of people's identity, "the blog said.
According to Motherboard new policy was agreed upon by members of the Facebook Content Standards Forum yesterday.
Under the new policy, anyone looking for racist content or phrases like "Heil Hitler" will be directed to the Life After Hate organization, which provides services for former white supremacists and extremists as educational resources, support groups and intervention in crisis situations.
Defenders hope that the change of Facebook's policy can ignite a fire under other platforms to make similar changes. "The Facebook update should make Twitter, YouTube and Amazon act urgently to stop the growth of white nationalist ideologies, which find space on the platforms to spread the violent ideas and rhetoric that inspired the tragic attacks witnessed in Charlottesville, Pittsburgh. and now Christchurch, Color of Change president Rashad Robinson said in a statement on Wednesday.