Britain First claims ‘fascist’ Facebook has shut down group’s page

The far-right group claims the move is denying 1.1 million supporters freedom of speech and has vowed to sue the company 

Britain First has claimed its Facebook fan page has been “unpublished” by the company, prompting the group to label the social network “fascist” while vowing to take it to court.

In a statement published on Britain First’s website, the far-right group said the supposed move by Facebook “means that our 1.1 million supporters have been denied freedom of speech and expression,” and said it has launched “an immediate legal fund to drag Facebook into court”.

The group claimed that over 150 million people worldwide looked at the Britain First fan page and its posts in the past week. 

“Facebook has launched a fascist attack on a registered, legal British political party on the verge of a major election campaign”, said Britain First’s Paul Golding.

A spokesperson from Facebook said they were investigating the matter. 

Britain First has previously boasted of the strength of its Facebook presence. When it reached the one million "like" milestone it claimed the news was proof of "genuine popular support of ideals, policies and views". 

But the Facebook page has also been a source of contention - in the same week as reaching its record number of online followers, it also had to remove two photographs of British soldiers and Sea Cadets featuring people who did not want to be associated with its rhetoric. 

In the case of the Sea Cadet picture, two girls aged 12 and 13 were pictured selling poppies ahead of Remembrance Sunday. The girls were seen apparently "guarded" by two men, who turned out to be from Britain First but had not stated thier identities when they asked for a picture.

The image then appeared on the group's Facebook page without permission, leaving the head of the Nottingham Sea Cadet's "furious". 

Earlier this month Britain First shared a picture of murdered Fusilier Lee Rigby on its Facebook page using the caption "Lest we forget" - against the wishes of his family.