Facebook to ban several far-right British groups from platform

Facebook to ban several far-right British groups from platform
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Facebook on Thursday banned several far-right British groups from its platform, saying in a statement that the high-profile organizations and individuals had been using Facebook's services to spread hate and attack others "on the basis of who they are." 

The tech giant has been under intensifying scrutiny for allowing bigotry and white nationalism to proliferate on its platforms, including Instagram.  

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The bans on Thursday included some of the United Kingdom's most prominent far-right groups and figures, including the British National Party and its former chairman Nick Griffin; Britain First and its leader Paul Golding; Knights Templar International, which supports an armed militia that allegedly hunts down refugees crossing into Europe, and its founder; far-right activist Jack Renshaw, who allegedly once plotted to murder a member of Parliament; and the English Defence League, among others. 

Facebook in a statement said it is banning the groups and their leaders under its "dangerous individuals and organizations policy," which bans "those who proclaim a violent or hateful mission or are engaged in acts of hate or violence." 

"The individuals and organizations we have banned today violate this policy, and they will no longer be allowed a presence on Facebook or Instagram," a Facebook spokesperson said. "Posts and other content which expresses praise or support for these figures and groups will also be banned."

Labour Party MP Yvette Cooper in a statement called the takedowns "long overdue," according to the BBC

"For too long, social media companies have been facilitating extremist and hateful content online and profiting from the poison," Cooper said.

All of the groups banned by Facebook on Thursday have reportedly been promoting anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric.

The ban comes months after Facebook banned far-right U.K. activist Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, from its platforms for violating the platforms’ anti-hate speech standards.

Robinson founded the English Defense League, which was banned in its entirety on Thursday.