Facebook has banned right-wing group Britain First on Wednesday along with two of its leaders for “repeatedly” violating the platform’s rules against “hate speech.”
“We are an open platform for all ideas and political speech goes to the heart of free expression. But political views can and should be expressed without hate,” said Facebook in a statement on its decision. “People can express robust and controversial opinions without needing to denigrate others on the basis of who they are.”
Britain First gained widespread notoriety in the U.S. after President Trump retweeted three videos from Jayda Fransen, the group’s deputy leader, last November. One was captioned, “Islamist mob pushes man off roof and beats him to death!,” the second, “Muslim destroys a statue of the Virgin Mary,” and the third, “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!” Trump quickly drew criticism for sharing anti-Islam videos from the group, and eventually apologized in an interview with Piers Morgan.
Fransen and Paul Golding, another Britain First leader, also had their pages removed.
Facebook said Britain First and its leadership have “repeatedly posted content designed to incite animosity and hatred against minority groups, which disqualifies the Pages from our service.” Despite receiving a “written final warning,” the group continued to post content against Facebook policies.
Britain First styles itself as a “patriotic resistance” group that aims to “restore Christianity as the bedrock” of British life.
“Our policies are pro-British, our approach is no-nonsense and our principles are not open to compromise,” said the group on its website. “The rapid growth of militant Islam is leading to the suppression of women, freedom of speech and racist attacks.”
Britain First did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on its ban.
Facebook’s decision comes a week after Fransen and Golding were jailed for “religiously aggravated harassment” in the U.K., with the leaders showing a “demonstrated hostility” towards Muslims, according to the court.