One of the world’s largest internet companies sided with anti-government protesters and removed election advertising because it allegedly encouraged violence against people belonging to another race.
Facebook Inc. has publicly expressed solidarity with extreme “anarchist” civil unrest that swept across the nation since Minnesotan George Floyd died in police custody. Local police allegedly handcuffed and kneed Floyd’s throat before he became unresponsive on May 25.
Founding CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised to use his $671 billion company to play a “positive role” in fighting “racial injustice” in America.
“To members of our black community: I stand with you, your lives matter, black lives matter,” he said on Facebook. “I believe our platforms will play a positive role in this but we have work to do to make sure our role is as positive as possible … I am looking forward to making progress together over the coming weeks and months.”
Zuckerberg recently raised eyebrows when he used his social media platform to censor a sponsored U.S. presidential message for the 2020 general election on Nov. 3.
Team Trump uploaded a paid advertisement on June 17 that promised to bring back respect for the rules of society through positive social change. The post included an image of a red triangle, which points downward and represents the antifa militant group.
“Dangerous mobs of far-left groups are running through our streets and causing absolute mayhem, they are destroying our cities and rioting–it is absolute madness,” the sponsored ad said on Facebook. “It is important that every American comes together at a time like this to send a united message that we will not stand for their radical actions any longer. We are calling on you to make a public statement and add your name to stand with President Trump against Antifa.”
The Facebook moderation team removed the ad and defended its decision by claiming the symbol was spreading hate speech.
“We removed these posts and ads for violating our policy against organized hate,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said in a statement obtained by Axios. “Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group’s symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol.”
However, Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh believes the post did not breach any of the social media platform’s policies since the content clearly explained the symbol’s connection to “dangerous mobs of far-left groups.”
“The inverted red triangle is a symbol used by Antifa, so it was included in an ad about Antifa,” he said according to the publication.
Murtaugh also revealed Facebook has an emoji that looks very similar to the symbol the paid ad used yet users can still insert it into their posts without any consequence.
“We would note that Facebook still has an inverted red triangle emoji in use, which looks exactly the same, so it is curious that they would target only this ad,” he said. “The image is also not included in the Anti-Defamation League’s database of symbols of hate but it is ironic that it took a Trump ad to force the media to implicitly concede that Antifa is a hate group.”