The Far Right on Facebook

Neo-Nazi, white supremacist, and far-right groups and online businesses maintain a presence on Facebook. Facebook is the third most visited website on the Internet and is also the world’s largest social media network, with over 2.2 billion regular users as of February 2018.* According to the Pew Research Center, 68% of U.S. adults use Facebook, with 81% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 using the platform.* Because of its popularity, Facebook has become an important tool for political or community organizations and commercial brands—including, unfortunately, for far-right extremists. Even though the company explicitly bans hate speech and hate groups in its Community Standards,* Facebook appears to have a reactionary approach to removing neo-Nazi and white supremacist content from its platform. For example, Facebook deactivated a page belonging to the Traditionalist Workers Party, a neo-Nazi group, only after it was revealed that the group participated in the 2017 Charlottesville Unite the Right rally. The page was reported to the company prior to the event.* In another instance, a Huffington Post investigation in summer 2018 found that four neo-Nazi and white supremacist clothing stores were able to operate on Facebook. The tech giant finally removed the pages once it was faced with negative press.* Despite seeing astronomical revenues of approximately $40.7 billion in 2017, Facebook is failing to enforce its own Community Standards in a proactive manner.*
In September 2018, the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) identified and monitored a small selection of 40 Facebook pages belonging to online stores that sell white supremacist clothing, music, or accessories, or white supremacist or neo-Nazi groups. Pages were located through searches for known white supremacist or neo-Nazi keywords. CEP researchers recorded information for each page such as the number of likes, date of creation, and examples of white supremacist or neo-Nazi content. After two months, CEP reported the pages—only 35 of the 40 remained online—to Facebook and found that only four pages were ultimately removed. Clearly, Facebook’s process for reviewing and removing this content-which violates its own Community Standards-is inadequate.

via counterextremism: The Far Right on Facebook

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