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Facebook takes down Tommy Robinson profiles for violating hate speech rules

Monday, 25 February, 2019 - 21:39

Facebook has decided to remove the page of Tommy Robinson, as well as his Instagram profile. This figure of the British extreme right has, according to the social network, ‘regularly violated’ Facebook and Instagram’s conditions of use by spreading hate messages, especially against Muslims.

In 2009, Tommy Robinson founded the English Defense League (EDL), a far-right group fighting against “the dangers of Islamism” . Sentenced to 13 months in jail in May 2018 for filming and distributing images of a criminal trial on the Internet, jeopardising the outcome of the trail, Robinson was released on bail in August pending an appeal. 

His case had caught the attention of the American alt-right, and even Donald Trump Jr., son of the US president, and Steve Bannon, former advisor to Donald Trump, voiced their support for him. In November, Robinson became the special adviser to Gerard Batten, leader of the Europhobic party UKIP .

On social networks, Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, had already experienced a other bans. In March 2018, Twitter removed his account, which by then had gathered millions of followers and generated hundreds of thousands of views of videos promoting messages inciting the hatred of Islam.

“Tommy Robinson’s Facebook page has repeatedly contravened these rules, with publications using dehumanizing language and calls for violence against Muslims. This is not a decision we take lightly but individuals and organizations who attack others on the basis of what they are have no place on Facebook and Instagram,” Facebook said in a a statement.

Robinson said that Facebook reacted in this way because of the broadcast of his latest documentary, which “shows how the establishment works with the media to make bring me down and destroy me” . “This is an attack on freedom of expression around the world,” he said.

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