BRITAIN First and its leaders have been banned from Facebook, the global social media firm has said.

It said it had removed the official page of the far right extremist group saying it had repeatedly violated its community standards.

This afternoon when checked a stripped down version of the official group's page had been resurrected and up for several hours, describing the ban as a continued "hate campaign" against freedom of speech.   It later vanished.

The ban extends to party leader Paul Golding and deputy leader Jayda Fransen.

Facebook had been under pressure for to take action against Britain First after its  suspension from Twitter three months ago.

HeraldScotland: Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen. (Nick Ansell/PA)

Earlier this month, Golding and Fransen, were jailed after being found guilty of religiously aggravated harassment.

More than two million people had liked the group's Facebook page.

"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," Facebook said.

"We recently gave the administrators of the pages a written final warning, and they have continued to post content that violates our Community Standards.

"As a result, 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."

Facebook said it was careful not to remove posts or pages just because they were controversial and some people did not like them, but said that Britain First had gone further and broken its anti-hatred rules with its anti-Islam posts.

HeraldScotland: facebook

"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 said.

The group will not be allowed to set up a replacement page. But it had resurrected its official page on Wednesday afternoon before seemingly being shut down again.  It popped up again in the form of a petition to free Golding and Fransen.

It is believed Facebook judged the videos and photos to be designed to incite hatred against Muslims.

The removal of the Britain First pages comes as Facebook and other internet firms like Twitter and Google are under growing pressure to police their networks, refereeing content to prevent extremist groups spreading their messages and recruiting online.

Prime Minister Theresa May told the House of Commons that she welcomed the move and hoped other tech companies would follow.

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London's mayor, Sadiq Khan has also issued a statement.

"Britain First is a vile and hate-fuelled group," he said.

It is  understood that Britain's First's Facebook page, which had two million followers around the world had violating content including​ a photo of the group’s leaders with the caption 'Islamaphobic and Proud'.

Other violations included:

  • a caption comparing Muslim immigrants with animals;
  • multiple videos posted deliberately to incite hateful comments against Muslims.

When questioned by MPs at the end of last year, Facebook policy head Simon Milner told the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee that Facebook was "reviewing" the group's page after other social networks such as Twitter and YouTube suspended group accounts.

When asked why the group had remained on the site, Mr Milner said Britain First had until recently been registered with the Electoral Commission and therefore "deemed legitimate" by the authorities, but there were "clearly issues" with the page.

He added the site was "very cautious" about political speech, and in Facebook's statement on the page removal, the company reiterated its stance.

HeraldScotland:

"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," the social network said.

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

Following its suspension from Twitter in December, Mr Golding said the group was looking for new social networks to join and urged supporters to follow.

Facebook added: "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.

HeraldScotland:

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

"There are times though when legitimate political speech crosses the line and becomes hate speech designed to stir up hatred against groups in our society."