Facebook briefly banned Britain First’s page on 30 November, sparking momentary cries of celebration on social media. But within an hour, the far right organisation’s page was restored, claiming Facebook’s censorship to be a ‘fascist attack’. Britain First currently has over 1 million likes on its Facebook page—more than Conservatives and Labour combined. Its page on average generates hundreds of likes for posts. Immediately following restoration, likes spiked into the thousands. Despite their inflammatory material, banning social media sites like Britain First is a highly ineffective approach. Research points to the negative consequences that arise from exercising bans. The International Centre for Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) found through in-depth analysis that a systematic blocking of sites with extremist material is both impractical and counterproductive. It found that strategies which include removing websites, filtering content for accessibility, and hiding search engine results, have little to no effect hindering such networks. This is due to the particular challenges of internet regulation. The scale of website traffic makes identifying and monitoring content extremely difficult, as well as resource-intensive. Even when web page takedowns do occur, sites and forums tend to re-emerge rapidly. The far-right website, Gates of Vienna, was taken down twice in […]
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