Facebook bans far-right Britain First group and its leaders

The social network said the group "repeatedly posted content designed to incite animosity and hatred against minority groups"

Facebook bans far-right Britain First group and its leaders

File photo dated 15/12/16 of Paul Golding, 35, and Jayda Fransen, 31, the leader and deputy leader of far-right group Britain First. Picture by: Nick Ansell/PA Wire/PA Images

The far-right group Britain First and its leaders have been banned from Facebook.

Britain First is a nationalist group known for its anti-Islam and anti-immigration views.

The social network says the group and leader Paul Golding and deputy leader Jayda Fransen had 'repeatedly broken' community standards.

It comes after the administrators of the Britain First page were given a 'written final warning' about their conduct.

In a statement, Facebook said: "We are an open platform for all ideas and political speech goes to the heart of free expression. But political views can and should be expressed without hate.

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

It adds: "In accordance with our policies, we have now removed the official Britain First Facebook Page and the Pages of the two leaders with immediate effect.

"We do not do this lightly, but they have repeatedly posted content designed to incite animosity and hatred against minority groups, which disqualifies the Pages from our service."

Facebook's announcement was welcomed by London mayor Sadiq Khan.

Sky News reports Britain First's Facebook page had two million followers globally.

A post featuring an image of the group's leaders with a caption "Islamophobic And Proud" is reported to be among the violations of Facebook's rules, as well as multiple anti-Muslim messages.

It comes a week after Ms Fransen and Mr Golding were found guilty in a British court of religiously aggravated harassment, and sentenced to 36 weeks and 18 weeks in prison respectively.

Britain First gained international attention last November after Donald Trump retweeted anti-Islam videos shared by Jayda Fransen on Twitter - with the US President sharply rebuked by the British government as a result.