Anti-Muslim Hate Group Trump Retweeted Receives Permanent Facebook Ban

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Facebook is cracking down on a far-right British political party, removing the official Facebook page for Britain First for spreading hate speech.

The anti-Islamic group shared incendiary pictures, stories, and memes, largely relating to Muslims and complaints about a deemed breakdown in British society.

The social media giant said it issued warnings to Golding and Fransen who were imprisoned last week for 18 and 36 weeks, respectively. He said: "Britain First is a vile and hate-fuelled group".

Facebook says that the decision to implement bans was not taken lightly and that the moderators of the Britain First page, and Golding and Fransen, had received final written warnings about the content they were posting.

Facebook's banning of Britain First follows in the footsteps of Twitter Inc., which late a year ago pulled accounts linked to Britain First, alongside US white supremacist organizations like the League of the South and American Renaissance. But it draws a line against hate speech.

In a statement, Facebook said: "We are an open platform for all ideas and political speech goes to the heart of free expression". "People can express robust and controversial opinions without needing to denigrate others on the basis of who they are", the company added.

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Facebook's announcement was welcomed by London mayor Sadiq Khan.

Pressure has been mounting on Facebook to take action against the groups presence.

Fransen was found guilty of three counts of religiously aggravated harassment and Golding of one count.

Twitter and YouTube previously suspended Britain First's accounts, prompting the Facebook review, the company's policy head Simon Milner told the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee in 2017.

Facebook said the posts which got it kicked off the platform included a graphic comparing Muslim immigrants to animals, a photo of Golding and Fransen with the caption "Islamophobic and proud" and video of ISIS beheadings.

Facebook and other social networks have come under increased scrutiny in recent months amid rising concern about the proliferation of hate speech and conspiracy theories online. In 2016, after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a decision to allow anti-Muslim comments posted by Trump to remain on the platform, the company said content that violates its standards but is otherwise "newsworthy, significant or important to the public interest" will not be removed.

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