Facebook has deleted right wing group Britain First from the site amid repeat breaches of its community standards.
This comes days after Britain First’s leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen were jailed after being found guilty of religiously aggravated harassment against Muslims. At the sentencing, the prosector told the court: “These defendants were not merely exercising their right to free speech but were instead aiming religiously aggravated abuse at innocent members of the public.”
The group had accumulated more than two million likes and had spawned countless parody pages in its time active on the site. Facebook acknowledged it faces a balancing act in deleting politically charged posts, saying in a blog about its decision: “Some political opinions might be controversial, but it is important that different views can be shared and we are very careful not to remove posts or Pages just because some people don’t like them.”
“There are times though when legitimate political speech crosses the line and becomes hate speech designed to stir up hatred against groups in our society.”
Facebook said that its community standards bans hate speech and it attempts to remove such content as fast as possible. Its announcement added that the pair had “repeatedly broken our Community Standards” and that recently they received a “written final warning”.
Both the Britain First page and the personal profiles of Golding and Fransen have been deleted.
Facebook’s statement concluded: “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.”
The social network had previously come under fire for accepting money from the group as part of its sponsored posts. However, at the close of 2016, the company said the posts met its community standards, and as a result, it was reluctant to stop the group from advertising on the platform.