Facebook bans Britain First page for breaking site’s community standards on hate speech

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
<em>The Britain First Facebook page has been removed from the site (Facebook)</em>
The Britain First Facebook page has been removed from the site (Facebook)

Facebook has banned far-right group Britain First for repeatedly breaking the site’s community standards on hate speech.

The social network said it had taken action against the page and has also banned leader Paul Golding and deputy leader Jayda Fransen from the site.

Golding and Fransen were jailed earlier this month after being convicted of religiously-aggravated harassment in Kent last year.

Facebook said they had continued to violate its rules despite issuing written final warnings over their conduct.

They said in a statement: ‘Content posted on the Britain First Facebook page and the pages of party leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen has repeatedly broken our Community Standards.

<em>A search of the page now comes up with an ‘unavailable’ link (Facebook)</em>
A search of the page now comes up with an ‘unavailable’ link (Facebook)

‘We recently gave the administrators of the pages a written final warning, and they have continued to post content that violates our Community Standards.

‘As a result, in accordance with our policies, we have now removed the official Britain First Facebook page and the pages of the two leaders with immediate effect.

‘We do not do this lightly, but they have repeatedly posted content designed to incite animosity and hatred against minority groups, which disqualifies the Pages from our service.’

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Facebook confirmed the violating content included an image of the group’s leaders with the caption ‘Islamophobic and Proud’ and multiple videos which Facebook said had been posted deliberately to incite hateful comments against Muslims.

The social network also confirmed that the group will not be allowed to set up an official Facebook page in the future.

When questioned by MPs at the end of last year, Facebook policy head Simon Milner told the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee that Facebook was ‘reviewing’ the group’s page after other social networks such as Twitter and YouTube suspended group accounts.

<em>Britain First leader Paul Golding and deputy leader Jayda Fransen were jailed earlier this month after being convicted of religiously-aggravated harassment (Rex)</em>
Britain First leader Paul Golding and deputy leader Jayda Fransen were jailed earlier this month after being convicted of religiously-aggravated harassment (Rex)

He added the site was ‘very cautious’ about political speech, and in Facebook’s statement on the page removal, the company reiterated its stance.

It said: ‘We are an open platform for all ideas and political speech goes to the heart of free expression. But political views can and should be expressed without hate.

‘People can express robust and controversial opinions without needing to denigrate others on the basis of who they are.’

Hope Not Hate welcomed Facebook’s decision to remove Britain First’s page.

They said in a statement: ‘It was a long time in coming, and long overdue, but we are delighted that Facebook has finally faced up to its responsibility as a publishing platform and removed this hate preaching organisation.

‘Britain First used Facebook as a means to leverage its position and push out some of the most divisive and vile anti-Muslim hatred you could find online.

‘Ironically, if you wanted to watch an ISIS beheading you didn’t need to go to an Islamic State page, instead Britain First would show it for you.

‘The group became very real ‘Facebook fascists’ and there are good reasons to believe it could now fold, particularly if Facebook stays strong and follows up on Britain First’s mirror and back-up pages.

‘With Britain First leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen already jailed, there are significant problems behind the scenes over access to the group’s social media, website and bank accounts. It could very well be the beginning of the end.’

Following its suspension from Twitter in December, Mr Golding said the group was looking for new social networks to join and urged supporters to follow.