Facebook announced Wednesday that it plans to block white nationalism and separatism representation on its platform, according to Reuters.
The new policy comes on the heels of the massacre of 50 people was lived stream in Christchurch, New Zealand mosques in early March. Facebook said the ban on any “praise, support and representation” of the beliefs will take effect next week. The policy also applies to Instagram.
Civil rights groups have criticized the company and other social media platforms such as Twitter and YouTube for failing to “confront extremism” prior to the incident.
Facebook already blocked white supremacy under rules of “hateful” content but stated last year that “white nationalist or separatist content” was separate from the term, according to Motherboard. Facebook said the beliefs weren’t “explicitly racist” and thought it was a representation of people’s identity.
Civil rights groups criticized the platform’s statement saying there isn’t a difference.
Facebook said in a statement, “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.
“Going forward, while people will still be able to demonstrate pride in their ethnic heritage, we will not tolerate praise or support for white nationalism and separatism.”
New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has already stated that platforms should be held accountable for users actions online. She said that the forms of extremism should have already been prohibited under the company’s hate-speech rules.
“Having said that, I’m pleased to see that they are including it, and that they have taken that step, but I still think that there is a conversation to be had with the international community about whether or not enough has been done,” she said on Thursday at a media conference.
“There are lessons to be learnt here in Christchurch and we don’t want anyone to have to learn those lesson over again,” she added.