NEWS
14/03/2018 12:20 GMT | Updated 15/03/2018 09:58 GMT

Britain First Banned From Facebook For 'Inciting Animosity And Hatred'

'With immediate effect.'

The Facebook pages of Britain First and its two leaders have been removed for posting “content designed to incite animosity and hatred against minority groups”.

The three pages associated with the far-right group, including those of leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen’s have been banned “with immediate effect”.

Gareth Fuller
Britain First leader Paul Golding and deputy leader Jayda Fransen have both have their pages removed from Facebook

In a statement released on Wednesday, Facebook said it recently gave the page admins a written final warning, but added “they have continued to post content that violates our community standards”.

“As a result, in accordance with our policies, we have now removed the official Britain First Facebook Page and the Pages of the two leaders with immediate effect.”

Another page, launched in 2015, that became active again in the hours following the announcement, was also shut down after being flagged to Facebook by HuffPost UK.

Facebook
Another Britain First page that was subsequently closed by Facebook after being flagged by HuffPost UK

The page hailed Facebook’s crackdown as “great exposure” and added: “We will bonce (sic) back not with 2 million likes but with 10 million in no time.”

Facebook
The Facebook page, which has now been removed

 

The party’s following - it had almost 2 million likes on Facebook, making it one of the biggest political pages in the UK - had largely been built on repackaging and manipulating news items, videos and photos to further their agenda.

Theresa May welcomed the news during Prime Minister’s Questions: “I am pleased to say the home secretary has been working with these companies to ensure they do more, and do act more clearly, in taking down material that is of an extremist nature.

She added: “I hope other companies will follow.”

Sadiq Khan also welcomed the news: “Britain First is a vile and hate-fuelled group whose sole purpose is to sow division. Their sick intentions to incite hatred within our society via social media are reprehensible, and Facebook’s decision to remove their content is welcome.”

The Mayor of London also called upon social media companies to “wield the power they’be amassed responsibly.”

He added: “I trust the decision made by Facebook today reflects a genuine desire to do more to protect people online and I urge others to follow suit.”

In December last year Britain First, Fransen and Golding were also suspended from Twitter, amid the social media platform’s crackdown on ‘hateful conduct’.

Twitter
Screengrabs showing Golding and Fransen's Twitter accounts suspended

The infamous group inadvertently hit the global headlines in November when US President Donald Trump, re-tweeted three unverified, anti-Muslim videos posted by Fransen.

It caused an international fallout between the UK and the US, with Theresa May saying Trump was “wrong” to have supported Britain First’s attempts to “divide communities through their use of hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tension”. 

Their removal meant Trump’s re-tweets of Fransen disappeared from his timeline. 

Twitter
Screengrabs of one of the three inflammatory tweets Trump re-tweeted before her account was suspended

Last week, a courtroom in Kent descended into chaos as Golding and Fransen were found guilty of religiously-aggravated harassment.

Golding was jailed for 18 weeks, as Fransen was handed a 36-week jail sentence after they were charged over the distribution of leaflets and posting of online videos during a rape trial involving Muslim men in Kent last year.

There was uproar in the court as Judge Justin Barron convicted Fransen of three charges and Golding of one charge.

Cheers and applause erupted from the public gallery as Fransen spoke over the judge and said: “This is a very sad day for British justice. Everything I did was for the children of this country and they are worth it.”

Britain First supporters hurled abuse at court staff and members of the press as the pair were lead away.

Later that day, the group’s main Facebook page had a new cover featuring Fransen, Golding and their supporters standing outside the magistrates’ court.

However, it can no longer be viewed following Facebook’s decision.