Christchurch terror attack: Facebook bans white nationalism and separatism

Facebook's ban on the "support, praise and representation" of white nationalism and separatism will make a big difference to hate groups, an expert says.

Massey University Professor Dr Paul Spoonley told Newshub banning the content will be a major road block for hate speech.

"It really does undermine the ability of far right groups to circulate material and to network."

Facebook and Instagram will no longer allow white nationalist and separatist content from next week.

It said it's clear they're linked to hate groups.

"Our conversations with members of civil society and academics who are experts in race relations around the world have confirmed that white nationalism and separatism cannot be meaningfully separated from white supremacy and organised hate groups," the company said in a statement.

Facebook said the conversations had taken place over the last three months.

Dr Spoonley said Facebook is often exploited by white supremacy groups.

"An important part of what the online platforms do for the far right, is to network and to compare notes and to compare strategies."

People searching for hate content on Facebook will be directed to Life After Hate, "an organisation founded by former violent extremists that provides crisis intervention, education, support groups and outreach".

Facebook did not mention the Christchurch terror attack, which saw 50 people killed when a gunman opened fire inside the Deans Ave and Linwood Ave mosques.

The killer livestreamed the attack on Facebook. More than 1 million attempts to re-upload the footage were blocked in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

Facebook has been heavily criticised for both allowing the spread of the video, and allowing white nationalist and extremist content.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called for "meaningful change" on social media.

"That's what we're asking - these are actually fairly black and white issues when you think about it, the availability of violent and extremist online content in any form.

"It's not an issue here in this realm of free speech. I think people would agree that some of the content we're talking about are the kinds of content that just shouldn't be available."

Newshub has contacted Facebook for comment.