Weirdly, Facebook internally tags this image as "stop bullying." That is not what today's TOS update is about.

Enlarge / Weirdly, Facebook internally tags this image as "stop bullying." That is not what today's TOS update is about. (credit: Facebook)

Facebook's terms-of-service agreement will be updated next week with a new anti-hate rule: any content that falls in the space of "white nationalism" or "white separatism" will be banned. The update, from a Wednesday Facebook news post titled "Standing Against Hate," comes nearly two weeks after the platform was used to widely share live video of a mosque shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand.

It also comes well after public outcry against Facebook's existing policy, which wagged a finger at "white supremacy" but counted the other aforementioned types of speech as acceptable. Today's news post acknowledges that previous divide in its policy by saying it wanted to leave room for "national pride" types of speech that exist across the world.

The news post explains that Facebook's conversations with critics led the company to conclude that "white nationalism and separatism cannot be meaningfully separated from white supremacy and organized hate groups." However, the news post doesn't explicitly clarify why exactly that is the case, instead simply citing an internal "review of hate figures and organizations." If you're looking for a range of academic voices speaking on why white nationalism is inherently linked to racism, Vice's lengthy September report on the matter is a good start. That report acknowledges the systemic forces that so-called white-nationalist sites and advocates can lean upon to imply racism or racially motivated violence without saying it loudly enough for, say, an algorithm-driven social media platform to flag it.

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