The online service company announced its policy change in a blog poston Wednesday, saying the ban will be enforced next week and will apply to both its core Facebook application and Instagram, presstv.ir reported.
“Today we’re announcing a ban on praise, support and representation of white nationalism and white separatism on Facebook and Instagram... It’s clear that these concepts are deeply linked to organized hate groups and have no place on our services,” Facebook said.
Fifty people were killed and another 50 were wounded in terrorist attacks by a gunman during Friday prayers at two mosques in the city of Christchurch on March 15. The assailant live-streamed a 17-minute footage of the first attack on his Facebook page, which has since been removed.
Facebook, which has been under pressure to remove white supremacist and other types of hateful content from its platforms, earlier said nobody had reported the video until minutes after the attack had ended.
The video sparked a backlash from civil rights groups, which said Facebook had failed to tackle extremism.
White supremacy had already been banned under Facebook’s rules on “hateful” content, but neither white nationalism nor white separatism were considered by the company to be explicitly racist until now. Civil rights groups have long said the three ideologies are indistinguishable.
Facebook said it had previously been wary of banning white nationalism and white separatism because it considered them “an important part of people’s identity.”
“But over the past three months our conversations with members of civil society and academics who are experts in race relations around the world have confirmed that white nationalism and separatism cannot be meaningfully separated from white supremacy and organized hate groups,” the company said.
‘New Zealand lessons should not have to be learned over again’
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was “pleased” by Facebook’s measure but indicated that more had to be done.
Also, Facebook said it would direct people who search for terms related to white supremacy to a non-profit organization called Life After Hate, focused on helping people leave hate groups.