Former extremist backs Facebook ban on white nationalists

Nearly two weeks after the Christchurch terror attack, Facebook has announced it will ban white nationalist content.

The move comes after increasing pressure from the public and politicians to act.

Tony McAleer told Newshub he used to live a life of hate.

"I was involved in some of the most notorious white supremacist organisations in the States."

He was interested in politics and theory, but spiralled into radicalisation.

"The process of radicalisation took months and years," he explained. "With the internet, you can binge watch an entire ideology in a weekend."

Now he turns people's lives away from extremism through Canadian organisation Life After Hate.

"Helping them return to their humanity," he calls it.

Facebook will now refer people searching for white supremacist content to his group.

The tech giant's expanded its ban on hate speech, saying: "While people will still be able to demonstrate pride in their ethnic heritage, we will not tolerate praise or support for white nationalism and separatism."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern welcomed Facebook's actions, but said it should have already been cracking down on racist content.

"Facebook already has community standards that say that they do not allow include hate speech. Many would of course think the announcement today would already be included in those standards."

Tech experts are in no doubt the move will drive extremists to other parts of the web.

"That's just the freedom of the world wide web," Victoria University's Markus Luczak-Roesch said. "People will go anywhere."

When that happens, he has a warning.

"The worst thing that could happen is we expect the content does not exist at all anymore because we don't see it on Facebook."

McAleer said calling out racism is a must, be it on Facebook or anywhere else.

"At a dinner party and hearing a joke that's clearly outside, instead of staying silent, saying, 'Hey, that's not appropriate'."

While Facebook may have addressed part of the problem, it still hasn't disabled livestreaming, despite the tool being used by the Christchurch killer.


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