Over the last few years, Facebook has been facing more and more criticism for the way that it handles hate speech, racism, and white nationalism on its platform from many who wish that online platforms would do more to enforce their own terms of service and reduce the amount of hate that is present on many social media platforms. Facebook and other networks have traditionally resisted making any changes, citing the difficulty behind such projects and the risk of alienating their userbase as reasons why they have not more vigorously worked at such things in the past. Recent mass shootings like the Christchurch attacks have drawn even more attention to Facebook’s inaction in preventing hate speech on its platform due to the fact that the attacker was able to broadcast his attack on Facebook live for an extended period of time before Facebook finally took the video down. It appears that these more recent criticisms have convinced those at Facebook to change their approach.
Facebook has recently announced that it is extending its ban on hate speech to specifically ban white nationalism and white separatism. Once this ban is implemented, those who search for terms that are closely associated with white supremacy will be redirected to a group called Life After Hate. This group is largely made up of former white nationalists who have organized themselves in order to try and help others leave the white nationalist movement and improve their lives. Many are applauding this action by Facebook to try to quell some of the most hateful parts of their website, and there are plenty who think that the social media platforms actions are long overdue given the social media connection to many recent terrorist attacks and mass shootings. Some of course are opposed to the move, and they view it as an encroachment on their rights. Some who feel this way may attempt to get Facebook to reverse this decision, and others will likely move on to other websites more accommodating of their views such as 4chan, 8chan, and others. How effective these actions by Facebook will be in the long run remains to be seen.