Former journalist and failed Toronto mayoral candidate Faith Goldy was banned by Facebook, along with numerous Canadian white nationalist groups, as the social media network enforces new regulations that equate white nationalism with bigotry and white supremacy.
The sweeping ban, which came into effect on April 8, also targeted Kevin Goudreau, who has a large swastika tattoo on his chest and has publicly called on his followers to assassinate government officials and anti-racist activists.
Facebook also deleted the group pages of the Canadian Nationalist Front, Aryan Strikeforce, Wolves of Odin, Soldiers of Odin and Canadian Infidels from its platform, which has grown to 2.27 billion monthly active users.
The announcement comes two weeks after Facebook executives decided to equate “white nationalism” and “white separatism” with white supremacy and racism.
“We’ve had conversations with more than 20 members of civil society, academics, in some cases these were civil rights organizations, experts in race relations from around the world,” Brian Fishman, the policy director of counterterrorism at Facebook, told VICE in late March. “We decided that the overlap between white nationalism, (white) separatism and white supremacy is so extensive we really can’t make a meaningful distinction between them.”
Goldy has previously been banned from the PayPal and Patreon web platforms for defending the “14 words,” a Nazi slogan asserting “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” Her name began trending on Twitter hours after the ban was announced.
“Our enemies are weak & terrified,” she wrote in a tweet to her 120,000 followers. “They forget most revolutions were waged before social media!”
Despite mingling in anti-Semitic groups, Goldy and the Soldiers of Odin have overlapped with Israeli interests in the past. During her mayoral run last summer, Goldy told The CJN, “I am on record in favour of the one-state solution, Israel’s wall, Israeli buy-cotts, Israel’s DNA testing for former Soviet Union Jews and her deportation of illegals.”
The Soldiers of Odin, meanwhile, have collaborated with the Jewish Defence League to provide security at various protests since 2017.
“They disowned racism and they’re against radical Islam,” JDL Canada leader Meir Weinstein told The CJN when the partnership began. “If we found out it was all BS and they were racist, we’d have nothing to do with them.”
According to Evan Balgord, executive director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, Goldy was “the litmus test for this new policy. We really wanted to put it out there that we wanted her gone.” Balgord’s group was one of the most prominent advocates for banning Goldy and other white nationalists from Facebook.
Balgord said he believes the timing is a direct response to the attacks on two Christchurch, New Zealand mosques in mid-March, in which a white supremacist gunned down 50 Muslim worshippers. He added that Facebook “would prefer to be above the law, so they’re taking a step on their own. To be a little cynical about it, they take little steps occasionally – and we celebrate it – but they never go far enough.”
Canadian government officials voiced similar sentiments.
“Facebook’s decision to ban white nationalist groups, and those who support them, is a good step in cracking down on extremism online, but there is more to be done,” Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan tweeted.
In the Jewish community, the reaction was more measured.
“It’s important that Facebook and other social media outlets abide by their own guidelines and restrict the use of their platforms by those who promote hatred toward others,” said Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada. “We would like to see a consistency … going forward that all promoters of hatred, both from the extreme right and the extreme left, be treated equally by Facebook and others.”
Facebook representatives have remained tight-lipped about any future bans.