Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Facebook takes down 'Britain First' page for 'inciting hatred'

Facebook takes down 'Britain First' page for 'inciting hatred'

In a statement released Wednesday announcing its decision, Facebook said the three pages had "repeatedly posted content created to incite animosity and hatred against minority groups". Its announcement added that the pair had "repeatedly broken our Community Standards" and that recently they received a "written final warning".

Facebook said it had taken down Britain First's Facebook page and those of its leaders, Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen, for repeatedly violating rules created to stop the incitement of hatred against minority groups.

Facebook did not confirm which specific posts led to the pages being removed, but the Guardian reported that they included one comparing Muslim immigrants to animals, another labelling the group's leaders "Islamophobic and proud", and videos created to incite hateful comments against Muslims.

Facebook went on to say that it's open to different political views, including controversial opinions that some might dislike. "(But) there are times though when legitimate political speech crosses the line and becomes hate speech created to stir up hatred against groups in our society", it added.

More than two million people had liked the page.

Both Golding and Fransen recently received prison sentences for religiously-aggravated harassment. Just over a year ago, after a story from Buzzfeed News challenged the company for taking money from Britain First to promote anti-Muslim content, Facebook said the party was within its rights, and that most of its content did not violate the platform's community standards.

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A screengrab shows the Twitter page of anti-Islam party Britain First's deputy leader Jayda Fransen, who was retweeted by President Trump on November 29, 2017. "I welcome Facebook's decision to remove their content from its platform - their sick intentions to incite hatred within our society via social media are reprehensible".

The ban means their group will not be permitted to set up an official Facebook page in the future.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan described Britain First on Twitter on Wednesday as a "vile and hate-fuelled group whose sole objective is to sow division".

There will no doubt be plenty of people who support Britain First that will scream about how this infringes on their freedom of speech/expression rights.

The duo had previously been banned from Twitter after content posted by Fransen had been retweeted by US President Donald Trump, sparking outcry at home and overseas.

These videos may simply be stunts, but the group, along with other far-right United Kingdom organizations, have helped inspire violence.

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