Faith Goldy, Former Toronto Mayoral Candidate, Caught in Facebook’s Far-Right Crackdown

Faith Goldy, Former Toronto Mayoral Candidate, Caught in Facebook’s Far-Right Crackdown

Facebook said on Monday that it would ban several far-right groups and figures in Canada, including Faith Goldy, who ran for mayor of Toronto last year, as part of the company’s widening crackdown on users who espouse white nationalism and other forms of hate.

The company, which owns Instagram, said the ban would also be applied to the Canadian Nationalist Front and its leader, Kevin Goudreau; the Aryan Strikeforce; the Wolves of Odin; and the Soldiers of Odin and one of its offshoots, the Canadian Infidels.

In a statement, Facebook said Ms. Goldy, Mr. Goudreau and the banned groups had violated its community standards, which include a prohibition on “organized hate.”

“The individuals and organizations we have banned today violate this policy, and they will no longer be allowed a presence on our services,” the company’s statement said. “Our work against organized hate is ongoing and we will continue to review individuals, pages, groups and content against our community standards.”

Attempts to reach Ms. Goldy, who has denied being a white supremacist, were unsuccessful on Monday. But she responded to the decision with a mixture of anger and pride on Twitter.

“I have committed no crime,” she wrote on Twitter. “My only fault has been loving my country and citing statistics!”

Later she posted a video of herself lounging in a hot tub overlooking a beach while she mocked Facebook, calling the company “so terrified and so weak that they are going out of their way to ban and to censor little old me who just quotes census data from my kitchen table.”

Monday’s decision comes two weeks after Facebook strengthened its ban on white supremacist content by also prohibiting material billed as white nationalist and white separatist. It previously viewed those three categories as distinct, which drew criticism from civil rights groups.

Rights groups in Canada began calling for Facebook to bar Ms. Goldy, who had earlier been barred from Airbnb and the fund-raising website Patreon, soon after the new policy on white nationalism was announced.

Evan Balgord, the executive director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, called her “the most public face of the alt-right neo-Nazi movement in Canada” and said her removal was “a litmus test” for Facebook’s new policy.

“Here in Canada, when we heard about the policy on white nationalists they were going to put in place, the first thing that came to mind was: If this is going to be meaningful to any extent, then the most obvious person they should remove from the platform is Goldy,” Mr. Balgord said.

But Mr. Balgord said he was disappointed that Facebook had not taken action against other groups, including the Quebec-based Atalante Québec and Fédération des Québécois de Souche. He said they posed a bigger threat to public safety than the groups banned on Monday.

“They have group members with criminals records, they are explicitly neo-fascist, they march around in the streets. It is neo-Nazi stuff,” he said. “Faith Goldy and these other groups are the tip of the iceberg.”

Ms. Goldy rose to prominence working for The Rebel Media, a far-right Canadian outlet that fired her after she appeared on a podcast hosted by the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer following the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

Ms. Goldy used social media to build a political brand based on disdain for multiculturalism, liberalism and nonwhite immigration, which she has described as a threat to the country’s “European Canadian identity.”

She is a proponent of the white genocide conspiracy theory, which contends that liberal elites are plotting to replace white Christians with Jews and nonwhites.

Her pugilistic style won her some admirers in the United States, including the former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and Representative Steve King of Iowa, who endorsed her in the Toronto mayoral race and approvingly described her on Twitter as “pro-Western Civilization and a fighter for our values.”

But her flame-throwing persona did not help her in the mayoral race, where she was largely shunned. A television station refused to air her campaign ads (she sued and was ordered to pay the station’s legal fees after her lawsuit was dismissed). She was not invited to participate in a September debate, so she jumped onstage and was removed by the police.

In the end, she garnered just 3.4 percent of the vote in October. Mr. Balgord said she had alienated many on the Canadian far right during the campaign by making overtures toward members of the Jewish Defense League.

“She was courting their support because they are on the far right, but for a lot of people in the neo-Nazi movement that is a line you can’t cross,” he said.

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