Facebook to ban two white nationalist groups after Guardian report

Platform bars Red Ice TV and Affirmative Right, as VDare continues to operate

Facebook will no longer allow Red Ice TV and Affirmative Right to use its platform, following a Guardian report on the continued presence of prominent white nationalist organizations on the site eight months after a promised ban.

A Facebook spokesperson said on Tuesday that the company has now determined that Red Ice TV and Affirmative Right violate its policy against “organized hate”. The ban will include the pages of the Red Ice TV hosts Lana Lokteff and Henrik Palmgren, as well as their internet radio show, Radio3Fourteen.

Red Ice TV gained popularity on YouTube in recent years as a mouthpiece for the growing movement of white nationalists and white supremacists around the world. It has hosted white nationalists such as the Counter-Currents publisher Greg Johnson and the publisher of Daily Stormer website.

YouTube banned Red Ice in October for repeated violations of its ban on hate speech. The group had until today maintained a Facebook presence with more than 90,000 fans.

The Affirmative Right Facebook page was originally named Alternative Right. It hosted the blog founded by Richard Spencer, a white nationalist who gained prominence in 2016 in the US as a key figure in the “alt-right” movement. The site rebranded as the Affirmative Right following a falling out with Spencer.

The Facebook page for VDare, a prominent white nationalist, anti-immigrant website, remains online. The spokesperson said it was still under review. VDare was one of the sources whose material the White House adviser Stephen Miller emailed to a Breitbart writer with the aim of shaping her coverage of immigration, emails obtained by the Southern Poverty Law Center revealed in recent weeks.

Facebook has for years failed to proactively police its site for hate groups and white supremacists, despite a longstanding ban on “hate”. As white nationalist terrorist attacks rose around the world, the company maintained a policy distinction between white supremacism and white nationalism until March of this year, when it finally agreed to ban white nationalist content. The company still allows Holocaust denial content, though it says that it works to prevent such content from spreading through its algorithms.

The actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen excoriated the company for its failure to adequately police hate in a speech at the Anti-Defamation League on Thursday. Cohen criticized Facebook’s controversial decision to allow politicians to promote lies in advertisements, saying: “If Facebook were around in the 1930s, it would have allowed Hitler to post 30-second ads on his ‘solution’ to the ‘Jewish problem’.” He also criticized the CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s stance on Holocaust denial, saying, “Those who deny the Holocaust aim to encourage another one.”

White nationalist attacks have taken a heavy toll in recent years. The rhetoric of the suspected mass shooters in Christchurch, New Zealand, and El Paso, Texas, was deeply shaped by digital white nationalist discourse. The Christchurch shooting, which killed 51 Muslim worshippers, was broadcast on Facebook Live.


Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco

The GuardianTramp

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