- Facebook introduced a policy in March to ban all white nationalist and white separatist content from its platform.
- Despite the new policy, white nationalist content continues to be posted on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
- Media watchdog Media Matters has documented at least 14 Instagram handles affiliated with white nationalist figures or content that has been posted to the platform – for a total of 261 posts – since the implementation of Facebook’s new policy.
- A Facebook spokesperson told INSIDER that the company does not allow content that violates its’ hate speech policy, and that “we will remove it from Instagram” if it violates those standards.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.
Facebook announced on March 27 that it would be implementing a new policy aimed at banning all content related to white nationalism and white separatism from its platforms, including Instagram, in an attempt to censor hateful rhetoric online.
In the blog post, titled “Standing Against Hate,” Facebook said that it planned to start enforcing the policy the following week. Yet, two weeks since that policy was first introduced, white nationalist content and violence has continued to be pushed out on Instagram, according to the media watchdog Media Matters.
Within the last 24 hours, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and far-right personality Laura Loomer, who have both been banned from Twitter, have posted videos on their Instagram stories that seem to violate Facebook’s updated policy about combating hate.
Jones took to Instagram to post a video promoting the white nationalist “It’s OK to be white” campaign. In the clip, which Media Matters researcher Natalie Martinez posted to Twitter, the man behind the camera encourages a woman to jump off a bridge and, when the woman says her family came from Mexico, described her as “one of the least brown looking Mexican people I’ve ever seen.”
Loomer used the platform to express her anti-Muslim viewpoints, viciously attacking Rep. Ilhan Omar to her 112,000 followers and describing Islam as a “cancer on society.” She later made her account private, but posted a message to her story that “everything I said is 100% true.”
A Facebook spokesperson told INSIDER that the company does not allow content that violates its’ hate speech policy, and that “we will remove it from Instagram” if it violates those standards.
“The Stories posts shared in this instance do violate our policies. These Stories are no longer available on Instagram,” the spokesperson said. “When we remove content from someone’s account on Instagram, we will make a note of that removal. If the account continues to violate our policies, it will become further eligible to be removed from Instagram.”
In total, Media Matters has identified at least 14 Instagram handles affiliated with white nationalist figures or content that has been posted to the platform – for a combined total of 261 posts – since March 31, around the time that Facebook said they would have started to implement the new policy, Media Matters communications director Laura Keiter told INSIDER.
As reported by Motherboard, Facebook’s new policy does not ban implicit white nationalism and white separatism, which can be difficult to enforce. Rather, the policy bans content that includes explicit praise or support of white nationalist or separatist ideology. That can make it difficult to actually ban people who espouse those views from the platforms.
For example, far-right figure Stefan Molyneux has taken to Instagram in recent weeks to promote his extremist Youtube channel, while far-right comedian Owen Benjamin has posted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories to his more than 61,000 followers on Instagram.
“The narrow focus of Facebook’s policy has thus resulted in a failure to remove a large amount of extremist content,” Media Matters wrote in a blog post. “Many extremists might still be able to skirt around the rule by simply not using explicit labels while pushing white nationalist and separatist talking points.”
Facebook already considered white supremacy to be hate speech, but the new policy added that “white nationalism and white separatism cannot be meaningfully separated from white supremacy and organised hate groups.”
- Read more:
- Facebook is banning white nationalism and white separatism
- Everything you need to know about Life After Hate – the organisation that’s partnered with Facebook to tackle white nationalist content on the platform
- White nationalists and the alt-right are disillusioned with Trump – and some are joining the Yang Gang
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