White Supremacy and Nationalism on Social Media

Should Facebook be responsible for censoring white supremacists? The social media site’s training documents for content moderators were recently released by Vice’s Motherboard and stated, “We don’t allow praise, support and representation of white supremacy as an ideology.” But the documents also revealed that Facebook allows content that represents white nationalism and white separatism, rationalizing that white supremacy is explicitly racist, but that white nationalism and separatism could be compared to historical separatist movements like Zionism and Black nationalists. Many believe that creating a distinction between the two groups is arbitrary, like Joanna Mendelson of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism who stated, “If you take the term white nationalism, it actually emerged within the white supremacist community as a euphemism for white supremacy. So, the term is essentially synonymous.” Situations like Facebook’s censorship rules begs the question, whose responsibility is it to create and enforce these rules? Facebook and other social media sites are an open platform where ideas are free as long as they don’t become violently or directly racist. But experts believe that group could become more dangerous if they can’t be monitored or surveyed. There are no clear answers to this problem, but Facebook and other media companies should be open to discussion or suggestions if they truly want to make sure their platforms are safe.

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