Facebook ban 'won’t stop white supremacy' - Professor

By Jessica Tyson

Facebook has banned content for white nationalism and separatism following the terror attack in Christchurch after a video of the shooting was shared worldwide on the internet.

Auckland University Sociology Professor Steve Matthewman is pleased about the ban, but thinks it won’t stop white supremacy.

“It will stop some people finding like-minded individuals who share these extreme white supremacist, racist viewpoints, he says.

“But often white supremacists often falsely believe themselves to be a persecuted group anyway that do worse in the world than anyone else and so on that level it’ll add to their persecution complex.”

He says social media allows community groups to connect but can also act as a “double edge sword.”

“You can be a charitable community, a good community whatever it may be, that’s going to help you. If your cause is bad and unjust and wrong it’s still going to help you as well so social media is an issue.”

He says there’s a pathway in becoming a white supremacist and research shows they start life as broken, wounded people with poor education.

“They’ve been born in dysfunctional families, there’s high levels of drug and alcohol abuse, there’s high levels of sexual abuse. Their schooling ended early so they’re not very educated people, he says.

“Some people latch on these white supremacist ideas because it seems to give them answers to their hurt. They’re the wrong answers. People of colour are not the cause of their immediate abuse.”  

In a news release, Facebook said concepts that are deeply linked to organised hate groups and have no place on their services.

“Going forward, while people will still be able to demonstrate pride in their ethnic heritage, we will not tolerate praise or support for white nationalism and separatism.”

The ban is due to be enforced by Facebook next week.