Facebook bans UK far-right groups

English Defence League march through Peterborough

English Defence League march through Peterborough

The latest bans come two months after Facebook designated the far-right activist Tommy Robinson - whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon - as a unsafe individual, deleting his accounts on the site and on Instagram, with YouTube also taking action.

Facebook specifically cited its "dangerous individuals and organisations policy" in a statement Thursday on the bans.

The ban applies not only to the individuals and groups, but to posts and other content that express praise or support for them.

At the end of last month, the social media network said it would block "praise, support and repetition of white nationalism and separatism".

Former BNP leader Nick Griffin, Britain First leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen, EDL member Paul Ray, Knights Templar International's Jim Dowson and the National Front's Tony Martin have also been banned as part of the crackdown.

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The social network says it does not allow groups or individuals which engage in "terrorist activity, organised hate, mass or serial murder, human trafficking or organised violence or criminal activity".

Facebook has been instrumental in the unchecked rise of the far-right in the United Kingdom and other countries; lies, misinformation and inflammatory posts have been ignored by the network and these groups have been allowed to recruit new members and groom others to bring them into their ideology. This time a year ago Facebook deleted over a hundred accounts linked to a Russian news farm, known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA), which has been accused of trying to influence the 2016 USA presidential elections. "Our work against organised hate is ongoing and we will continue to review individuals, organizations, pages, groups and content against our Community Standards".

The move comes amid continual pressure from governments around the world wanting social networking firms such as Twitter, Facebook and Google to crack down on hate speech and other extremist content.

The tech giant's ban on far-right content was welcomed by British officials including Yvette Cooper, a member of the country's main opposition Labour Party, who described the company's action as "long overdue".

"We all know the appalling consequences there can be if hateful, violent and illegal content is allowed to proliferate", she said.

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