Facebook Removes ‘Thriving’ White Supremacist Accounts After Recent Report

In this photo illustration the Social networking site Facebook is displayed on a laptop screen on March 25, 2009 in London, England.
Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

Not long after a Thursday study by watchdog group Tech Transparency Project (TTP) revealed that more than 100 white supremacist groups are “thriving” on Facebook, the platform took down 55 of the groups identified in the report.

HuffPost allegedly contacted the social media giant after the release of the study to inquire about the presence of the white supremacist groups.

“We are making progress keeping this activity off our platform and are reviewing content in this report,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to the publication.

According to the statement, Facebook has banned more than 250 white supremacist organizations and removed 4.7 million pieces of content linked to organized hate in the first quarter of 2020. The company claimed that more than 96 percent of the removals were the result of employees enforcing the Dangerous Individual and Organizations policy, without the help of an external report.

The TTP report found 113 white supremacist groups on Facebook. Of this group, 36 percent were groups or pages that were created by active users.

“With millions of people now quarantining at home and vulnerable to ideologies that seek to exploit people’s fears and resentments about COVID-19, Facebook’s failure to remove white supremacist groups could give these organizations fertile new ground to attract followers,” the study read.

The report also took aim at Facebook’s related pages function, which it suggested could fuel white supremacist echo chambers.

“TTP’s investigation found that among the 113 hate groups that had a Facebook presence, 77 of them had Pages that displayed Related Pages, often pointing people to other extremist or right-wing content.”

In March, Bloomberg reported that Facebook banned dozens of accounts, ages, and groups associated with the Northwest Front, a website that promotes white separatism via the creation of a white ethnostate in the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

Facebook previously banned white supremacist content early in 2019 and announced the decision in a blog post. According to the company, people searching for keywords associated with white supremacy will be directed to the website for Life After Hate, a nonprofit founded by former neo-Nazi Arno Michaelis that aims to help people break free from hate groups — in particular, white supremacist groups.

Facebook has received scrutiny for its content review process amid the coronavirus pandemic. The company is currently focusing its already-limited resources on curbing COVID-19 misinformation, which has reportedly left it with less time to focus on other problematic content.

White supremacists have allegedly been taking advantage of the coronavirus to push their agenda. As The Inquisitr previously reported, white supremacists are encouraging extremist groups to spread coronavirus to Jewish people and law enforcement.