Facebook Removes Trump Campaign Ads With Symbol Once Used by Nazis to Designate Political Prisoners

Isaac Stanley-Becker, reporting for The Washington Post:

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.

The red triangle appeared in paid posts sponsored by Trump and Vice President Pence, as well as by the “Team Trump” campaign page. It was featured alongside text warning of “Dangerous MOBS” and asking users to sign a petition about antifa, a loose collection of anti-fascist activists whom the Trump administration has sought to link to recent violence, despite arrest records that show their involvement is trivial.

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. “Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group’s symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol,” said Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesman.

No snark: good on Facebook for doing this.

My point two weeks ago regarding the controversy over Twitter putting a warning label in front of Trump’s “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” post basically came down to the fact that there need to be lines that can’t be crossed. It’s up for debate where exactly those lines should be drawn, but they need to be there. Twitter drawing a line that says it is not acceptable for the president to use Twitter to condone deadly state violence against protesters is, in my opinion, a sane and proper line. And the vehement backlash against Facebook for not drawing that same line, particularly internal opposition by employees, suggests Zuckerberg really blew that one.

With these Nazi symbols, I really can’t help but wonder if the point was not to force Facebook’s hand. That Trump and his enablers need enemies, and they’ve decided the entire social media internet is one of those enemies, and so they pushed Facebook in a way that forced them to take down their ads.

Thursday, 18 June 2020