Swath of organisations and individuals permanently banned for being ‘dangerous’
Nick Griffin campaigning for the BNP in 2014. He has been banned by Facebook. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Facebook has permanently banned a swath of far-right organisations and individuals including the British National party (BNP), the English Defence League (EDL) and Britain First under its “dangerous individuals and organisations” policy.
The ban, which came into effect at midday on Thursday, extends beyond the groups and individuals specifically cited as hate organisations: posts and other content that “expresses praise or support” for them will also be banned, as will users who coordinate support for the groups.
Twelve individuals and accounts have been banned by the site: the BNP and its former chairman Nick Griffin; Britain First, its leader, Paul Golding, and former deputy leader Jayda Fransen; the EDL and Paul Ray of the group; Knights Templar International and the far-right activist Jim Dowson; the National Front and its leader, Tony Martin; and the far-right activist Jack Renshaw, a former spokesperson for the proscribed terrorist organisation National Action.
In a statement, Facebook said: “Individuals and organisations who spread hate, or attack or call for the exclusion of others on the basis of who they are, have no place on Facebook. Under our dangerous individuals and organisations policy, we ban those who proclaim a violent or hateful mission or are engaged in acts of hate or violence.
“The individuals and organisations we have banned today violate this policy, and they will no longer be allowed a presence on Facebook or Instagram. Posts and other content which expresses praise or support for these figures and groups will also be banned. Our work against organised hate is ongoing and we will continue to review individuals, organisations, pages, groups and content against our community standards.”
When Facebook initially banned Britain First in early 2018 it was for repeated breaches of the site’s posting policies, and did not reach the level of designating the it as a dangerous organisation. That ban came a few months after the group had ceased to be a political party.
But, according to a source familiar with Facebook’s moderation, the community standards will continue to apply even if one of the newly proscribed individuals runs for or assumes political office, since the company has a clear policy that politicians must follow the same rules as other organisations.
The latest bans come two months after Facebook designated the far-right activist Tommy Robinson – whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – as a dangerous individual, deleting his accounts on the site and on Instagram. A month later, YouTube also took action, drastically limiting the availability of his videos on the site: they are now removed from search and algorithmic recommendations, comments are disabled on them, and users must click through a warning to view them.
The Guardian is contacting the affected parties for comment.