The move, which takes effect next week, comes nearly two weeks after the suspect in the terror attack at two New Zealand mosques used the social media platform to live stream the massacre that left 50 people dead and another 50 wounded. The gunman is reportedly a White nationalist.
“Our policies have long prohibited hateful treatment of people based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity or religion—and that has always included white supremacy,” Facebook wrote in a press release. “We didn’t originally apply the same rationale to expressions of white nationalism and white separatism because we were thinking about broader concepts of nationalism and separatism—things like American price and Basque separatism, which are an important part of people’s identity.”
After having meetings with “members of civil society and academics who are experts in race relations around the world,” the Mark Zuckerberg-founded social network changed its position. One of the advocacy groups Facebook consulted with was Color Of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization.
“Color Of Change alerted Facebook years ago to the growing dangers of white nationalists on its platform, and today, we are glad to see the company’s leadership take this critical step forward in updating its policy on white nationalism,” Rashad Robinson, president of the organization, said in a statement provided to EBONY.
“Facebook’s update should move Twitter, YouTube, and Amazon to act urgently to stem the growth of white nationalist ideologies, which find space on platforms to spread the violent ideas and rhetoric that inspired the tragic attacks witnessed in Charlottesville, Pittsburgh, and now Christchurch,” Robinson added. “Color Of Change and its 1.5 million members will continue to work with Facebook to ensure the platform is safe for everyone and hold the leadership of all social platforms accountable to making the safety of users from marginalized communities an operational priority.”
Because of the new policy, Facebook will redirect users searching for or posting White supremacist or White nationalist content to “Life After Hate, an organization founded by former violent extremists that