Facebook has banned Britain First

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Britain First's Facebook page and the pages of its two leaders have been removed "with immediate effect", the social media giant has announced.

A screengrab shows the Twitter page of anti-Islam party Britain First's deputy leader Jayda Fransen, who was retweeted by President Trump on November 29, 2017. Pages associated with those members were also booted from Facebook's platform.

"People can express robust and controversial opinions without needing to denigrate others on the basis of who they are".

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan welcomed the news of Britain First being removed from Facebook, saying in a statement: "Britain First is a vile and hate-fuelled group..."

Specifically, offences included a photo of Fransen and Golding tagged "Islamaphobic and Proud", a post caption that compares Muslim immigrants with animals, and several videos that deliberately incite hateful comments against Muslims.

We have Community Standards that clearly state this sort of speech is not acceptable on Facebook and, when we become aware of it, we remove it as quickly as we can.

Facebook said that all three pages in question repeatedly violated its community standards, even after the administrators received final written warnings.

President Donald Trump past year retweeted posts from Fransen that contained unverified videos of Muslims engaging in violent acts.

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In a blog post, Facebook said: "Content posted on the Britain First Facebook page and the pages of party leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen has repeatedly broken our community standards".

Fransen and Golding were jailed last week after being convicted of racially aggravated harassment.

Facebook emphasised that they had not taken this decision lightly, and defended their position, stating: "There are times though when legitimate political speech crosses the line and becomes hate speech created to stir up hatred against groups in our society".

There are still Britain First pages up on Facebook at the time of writing, though they appear to be parodies created to mock the group in any way they can.

Now, Britain First's Facebook page, which had two million followers globally, has been closed.

The group will not be allowed to set up a replacement page.

Twitter and YouTube previously suspended Britain First's accounts, prompting the Facebook review, the company's policy head Simon Milner told the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee in 2017. Facebook says that the group has repeatedly violated rules against hate speech, and denies that the bans are an infringement of free speech.