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Facebook Is Removing Viral Posts Linking to a Neo-Nazi Site

August 15, 2017, 5:06 PM UTC

Facebook is usually more than happy to have news posts go viral. But this week, the social networking giant is actively removing links to a viral article that appears on the white supremacist site Daily Stormer.

The article in question, which The Verge reports had been shared more than 65,000 times as of Monday night, features numerous personal attacks against Heather Heyer, the woman who was killed on Saturday when a car smashed into a crowd protesting the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va. Several others were injured in the incident and the alleged driver of the car, James Alex Fields Jr., has been charged with second-degree murder.

Facebook has said that the article violates its community standards, which do not permit hate speech on the social network. Facebook will only permit posts sharing the Daily Stormer article to remain on the site if they include a caption clearly condemning the article’s content and/or the domain itself, and the company said it is removing all posts that share the Daily Stormer article without a caption.

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Multiple tech companies have taken steps against the Daily Stormer website, which is known as a hub for white supremacist propaganda and an online gathering place for Neo-Nazis and the “alt-right,” in the wake of the site’s response to the weekend’s events in Charlottesville. On Monday, GoDaddy revoked the site’s domain registration, forcing the Daily Stormer to temporarily move its domain to Alphabet’s Google, before that host also revoked the Daily Stormer’s domain registration. Google also banned the Daily Stormer’s YouTube channel. Both GoDaddy and Google said the website, which is offline as of Tuesday, violated their terms of service.

Facebook was criticized last year when it was reported that the human curators of the social networking giant’s Trending news section were biased against conservative news outlets. The company has since increased the automation of its Trending section to avoid claims that Facebook is hand-picking the editorial content that is shared most widely.

However, in removing posts sharing the Daily Stormer article, Facebook seems to be merely continuing its recently stepped-up efforts to combat the spread of offensive and hateful content on social media. Other services such as Twitter and Google’s YouTube have taken similar steps over the past year amid concerns that hate groups and terrorist groups are using the Internet for calls to violence.