After getting themselves jailed last week, and with a potentially ruinous libel action hanging over them, the leaders of far-right Britain First might have thought they had now reached rock bottom. But for Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen, this was only the beginning: there was also the potential sanction from social media companies.
One fewer social media outlet for hate speech
And kicking off that sanction today was Facebook, as the BBC reported: “The social media company said the group had repeatedly violated its community standards … Earlier this month, Britain First's leader and deputy leader, Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen, were jailed after being found guilty of religiously aggravated harassment … More than two million people had liked the group's Facebook page … The pages of Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen also had large followings”. Facebook has banned them.
Mark Di Stefano of BuzzFeed was in no doubt as to the significance of this event: “HUGE: Facebook has banned Britain First”. Nick Robinson of the BBC agreed: “Facebook are taking down the pages of Britain First & its leaders which have been used to draw hundreds of thousands of people to racist propaganda. A significant step”.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan concurred: “Facebook’s decision to remove Britain First content from its platform is welcome. This is a vile and hate-fuelled group whose sole purpose is to sow division”. But the far-right was in full paranoia mode.
Mark Collett was typical: “Britain First have just been banned from Facebook. They had over 2 million likes - more than any other political party in UK. Free speech is being throttled by politically correct corporations”. Free hate speech, more like. There was more: “#BritainFirst banned from Facebook. The elite will not tolerate resistance to your replacement and coming genocide!” Yes, the white genocide mob was here. Next.
“Facebook has just banned britain first, this is getting worse, we no longer have a voice to protect the children of this country #pedophile behaviour seems to be accepted here in the #UK … Facebook bans Britain First group and leaders! Politically motivated?! … The end of free speech begins with the suppression of unpopular opinions. Make no mistake, yours will be next”. That last one had at least two takers, both of them wrong.
Golding and Ms Fransen were portrayed as “Patriots” in the world of the far-right: “Facebook bans pages of #BritainFirst and leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen … All dissension must be crushed … #ProactivePatriots”. Then came accusations of Government interference: “It was removed at the request of the current Tory Government who who have become as authoritarian as the far left”. Wibble.
Could it get more off the wall than that? You bet, and with pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins in the room, anything was possible. “14 March. 1) Commons leaders delivered scripted narratives on Islamophobia 2) Our flag went brown 3) Facebook became the arbiter of opinion”. This must mean something. But what? Who knows? Who cares?
Britain First and its leaders got banned from Facebook for violating their standards. They kept pushing hate speech and went beyond the limits. And now they’ve been removed from that platform. For good. Just rejoice at that news.