British Activist Tommy Robinson Banned From Facebook, Instagram for 'Hate Speech'

Tommy Robinson, a right-wing British activist who founded the English Defence League, was banned from Facebook and Instagram for repeatedly violating its hate speech policies, Facebook said.

Facebook said in a statement that Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, violated rules barring calls for violence against groups and bullying.

Robinson has already been banned from Twitter, The Guardian reported.

“When ideas and opinions cross the line and amount to hate speech that may create an environment of intimidation and exclusion for certain groups in society – in some cases with potentially dangerous offline implications – we take action,” Facebook said in a blog post.

“Tommy Robinson’s Facebook page has repeatedly broken these standards, posting material that uses dehumanizing language and calls for violence targeted at Muslims. He has also behaved in ways that violate our policies around organized hate,” the company said.

The company banned Robinson after he received a final warning over a post that called on people to behead followers of the Quran, a post in which he called for people to “make war” on Muslims, and videos showing people being bullied.

After the warning, Facebook said, Robinson continued to appear alongside hate groups, praised hate groups, posted comments that included hate speech, and called for violence based on race.

Proud Boys Founder Gavin McInnes and InfoWars founder Alex Jones have been banned by the platform as well.

“Our public Community Standards state this sort of speech is not acceptable on Facebook – and when we become aware of it, we remove it as quickly as we can,” Facebook said in a blog post. “Our rules also make clear that individuals and organizations that are engaged in ‘organized hate’ are not allowed on the platform, and that praise or support for these figures and groups is also banned. This is true regardless of the ideology they espouse.”

Robinson complains he’s being censored:

Robinson posted a video to Instagram in the 24 minutes between his ban being announced and his pages being deleted, The Guardian reported.

“If this isn’t the evidence that you needed, headlines now from The Guardian, The Guardian, before I’ve been told, so they’re all working together with the media, they have deleted me from Facebook and apparently I’m being deleted from Instagram. I can still make this video at the minute, but I’m being deleted,” he said, pleading for followers to support him. “We have to fight this censorship.”

But British officials urged Facebook to do more.

Tom Watson, the Labour Party's shadow secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, told The Guardian that Facebook had given a platform to “this violent thug’s hate-spewing, anti-Islamist tirades” for “far too long.”

“Today’s decision comes far too late,” he said. The public interest demands an end to laissez-faire regulation, so we can create a place where reasonable debate can take place without trolls, extremists and racist thugs seeking to damage and undermine society. That requires an independent social media regulator with teeth.”


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