Far-right activist Tommy Robinson (real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) has been banned from Facebook, leaving YouTube as the last place online where he can engage in organized hate.
YouTube is now the only major social media platform that still allows Robinson to post or upload his content. Right Wing Watch contacted Google for comment via email but did not receive a response prior to publication.
Robinson is heralded in right-wing media circles for his insistent anti-Muslim activism in Europe, for which he has been arrested numerous times. He is a former leader of the English Defense League, whose supporters have been known to throw up Nazi salutes and engage in violent attacks at rallies. The Guardian reports that Robinson is among the best-funded far-right activists in the international scene.
Far-right media and politicians in the United States have taken up defenses of Robinson on numerous occasions and Robinson has appeared numerous times on such platforms as Infowars and Breitbart, where he has often received a glowing reception. Last year, the right-wing group Middle East Forum attempted to book Robinson to speak with Republicans on Capitol Hill, but his visa to the U.S. was not approved in time. Last summer, after Robinson was jailed in the United Kingdom for contempt of court, right-wing media campaigned aggressively for his release.
In a Facebook Newsroom blog post, the site announced it was banning Robinson from Facebook and Instagram, which Facebook also owns:
[I]ndividuals and organizations that are engaged in “organized hate” are not allowed on the platform, and that praise or support for these figures and groups is also banned. This is true regardless of the ideology they espouse.
Tommy Robinson’s Facebook Page has repeatedly broken these standards, posting material that uses dehumanizing language and calls for violence targeted at Muslims. He has also behaved in ways that violate our policies around organized hate. As a result, in accordance with our policies, we have removed Tommy Robinson’s official Facebook Page and Instagram profile.
Hope Not Hate, a U.K.-based progressive group dedicated to opposing hate speech in Europe, issued a statement about Robinson’s ban, calling it a “welcome decision.”
Facebook have removed Tommy Robinson’s account from their platform. It’s a welcome decision. Here’s our statement ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/TN6ymbNAyb
— HOPE not hate (@hopenothate) February 26, 2019