Anti-Islam Britain First group banned by Facebook

Anti-Islam Britain First group banned by Facebook

Britain First leader Paul Golding was sentenced to 36 weeks in jail last week for religiously-aggravated harassment [Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images]

Facebook has barred the far-right group Britain First as well as its leaders from posting, accusing them of inciting hatred against minorities.

The social media giant said on Wednesday that on several occasions it warned the right-wing group – which has about two million likes on Facebook – that they had violated the terms of its community standards guidelines on hate speech.

A Facebook statement said, “We do not do this lightly.”

However, Britain First “repeatedly posted content designed to incite animosity and hatred against minority groups, which disqualifies the pages from our service”.

The decision comes in the wake of jail sentences handed to both the group’s leader, Paul Golding, and deputy leader, Jayda Fransen. Both were found guilty by a UK court earlier this month of religiously aggravated harassment.

“People come to Facebook to express themselves freely… People can express robust and controversial opinions without needing to denigrate others on the basis of who they are,” the statement said.

Al Jazeera made several attempts to contact Britain First for comment but no response was received by publication time.

Last December, Twitter banned Britain First.

US President Donald Trump drew criticism last November after he retweeted three anti-Muslim posts by Fransen. The retweets earned a rare rebuke of the US leader from British Prime Minister Theresa May