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Hate and White Supremacy on the Rise Online

On March 27th, Facebook announced a new policy banning content that promotes white nationalism and white separatism as impermissible hate speech, following nine months of advocacy from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Facebook’s new policy declares white nationalism and white separatism to be equivalent to white supremacy, and prohibits any praise, support or representation of these hateful ideologies. Until now, white nationalist and white separatist content was allowed on Facebook, despite the company’s Community Standards and Terms of Service.

“There is no defensible distinction that can be drawn between white supremacy, white nationalism or white separatism in society today. By maintaining this distinction, Facebook ended up providing violent racists a platform that could be exploited to promote hate. While we are pleased that Facebook is taking long overdue action, we know well that communities are still reeling from the rise in hate and racially motivated violence, and that extensive remedial action must be taken to ensure that hate is eliminated root and branch across the platform,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “As we have seen with tragic attacks on houses of worship in Charleston, Pittsburgh, New Zealand, and elsewhere, there are real life consequences when social media networks provide platforms for violent white supremacists, allowing them to incubate, organize, and recruit new followers to their hateful movements.”

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House Judiciary Committee Full Hearing on Hate Crimes