Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves Facebook removing Trump ads with Nazi Symbols on them.
According to The Washington Post; Facebook on Thursday deactivated dozens of ads placed by President Trump’s reelection campaign that included a symbol once used by the Nazis to designate political prisoners in concentration camps.
The marking appeared as part of the campaign’s online salvo against antifa and “far left groups.”
A red inverted triangle was used in the 1930s to identify Communists, and was applied as well to Social Democrats, liberals, Freemasons and other members of opposition parties incarcerated by the Nazis. The badge forced on Jewish political prisoners, by contrast, featured a yellow triangle overlaid by a red triangle so as to resemble a Star of David.
Facebook removed the material following queries from The Washington Post, saying ads and organic posts with the inverted triangle violated its policy against organized hate.
The ads on the president’s page alone which began running on Wednesday gained as many as 950,000 impressions by Thursday morning. Identical ads on Pence’s page gained as many as 500,000 impressions.
Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of security policy, faced questions about the ads from Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) during a Thursday hearing before the House Intelligence Committee.
“We obviously want to be careful to allow someone to put up a symbol to condemn it or to discuss it,” Gleicher told the lawmakers. “But in a situation where we don’t see either of those, we don’t allow it on the platform and we’ll remove it. That’s what we saw in this case with this ad, and anywhere that symbol is used, we would take the same action.”
Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, said, “The red triangle is an antifa symbol,” pointing to examples of iPhone cases and water bottles branded with the insignia. A more common emblem for the anti fascist movement includes two flags, one red and one black, enclosed in a circle.
“We would note that Facebook still has an inverted red triangle emoji in use, which looks exactly the same, so it’s curious that they would target only this ad,” Murtaugh added.
Thursday’s action by Facebook was not the first time the technology giant has taken action against Trump campaign ads. In March, the company removed ads it said included misleading references to the U.S. Census following an outcry from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), among others, about the platform’s initial decision to permit the posts.
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, in a lengthy post this month defending his handling of the president’s use of his platform, said he worried about an approach “leading us to editorialize on content we don’t like even if it doesn’t violate our policies.”
In internal Facebook communications, a policy executive said Thursday morning that deliberations were ongoing but that the red triangle was “common enough that it’s an emoji in most keyboards, including on Facebook,” and that the “triangle without any more context clearly doesn’t violate the letter” of policies prohibiting symbols for hate organizations.
Facebook’s move against the Trump ads came after a concerted push, including by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. David Brody, the organization’s counsel and senior fellow for privacy and technology, reported the material to Facebook, as well as to its civil rights auditors.
Facebook maintains it has made strides in rooting out misinformation and hateful content, and this week announced a new initiative that seeks to help 4 million people register to vote this year. In a “USA Today” column outlining the effort, Zuckerberg also said the company would roll out a feature allowing users to opt out of seeing political ads in their feeds.
A variation of the ad that prompted blowback on Thursday used a yield sign, which has the same shape and a similar color scheme but is notably distinct in featuring only a red outline and a white interior. Some of the material also featured a stop sign.