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News18 » Tech
1-min read

Facebook Starts Banning Far-Right White Supremacists, Among Others

Facebook is reported to be actively cracking down on "individuals or organisations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology."


Updated:May 3, 2019, 7:12 PM IST
Facebook Bans Alex Jones, Other Extremist Figures
Facebook Bans Alex Jones, Other Extremist Figures

Facebook ban is an increasingly more effective way of curbing propaganda, given the nature and communication potential of the multiple platforms owned by the company. Now, a company statement has disclosed that Facebook is actively banning prominent public figures that are known propagators of hate speech, violence, communal division and other propaganda. It is not clear if this is a duration-specific cleaning drive being undertaken by Facebook, or would lead to the banning of such accounts being a continuous process.

The list of personalities now blocked on Facebook include noted conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, white supremacist Paul Nehlen, anti-Islam figurehead Laura Loomer, far-right activist and Breibart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos, and others. According to a statement on the matter, Facebook has stated, "We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology. The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today."

While this move has been received with general appreciation, Facebook's critics have opined that the social media giant needs to maintain this endeavour over the long term in order to be the responsible platform for communication and free speech that it aspires to be. Furthermore, it has been reported that Facebook sent its media statement to a specific set of US-based publications prior to actually enforcing the ban, and gave a pre-emptive notice to the concerned accounts about the ban. Reports indicate that this may have proved counter-productive, since it gave the perpetrators the opportunity to spread word about alternate ways for their following to stay in touch.

It remains to be seen how far Facebook goes in a bid to neutralise its platform of hate speech, violence and propaganda, after the past few years have seen the company realise its relevance as a profoundly impactful platform, which has affected large scale acts of violence, influenced mindsets wrongly and more. While its primary "cleansing" drive was majorly centered around USA, it remains to be seen if it takes a similar approach to its major foreign markets, such as India itself.

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