For the past few months US President Donald Trump has been sowing divisions online, intentionally or not.
While Twitter has taken action against Trump, several times in recent weeks, Facebook has been a notable hold-out. This inaction regarding Trump prompted several Facebook employees to stage a virtual walkout.
But this week Facebook has taken action against advertising run by Trump’s re-election campaign for breaching its policies on hate.
The advert in question read, “Dangerous MOBS of far-left groups are running through our streets and causing absolutely mayhem. They are DESTROYING our cities and rioting – it’s absolute madness. It’s 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.”
While the text of the advert isn’t innocuous in and of itself, the advert also featured a red inverted triangle.
This red triangle “is practically identical to that used by the Nazi regime to classify political prisoners in concentration camps” the Anti-Defamation League said according to a report by CNN.
When the advert was criticised for featuring a Nazi symbol, the Trump campaign responded by, ummm, pointing at an emoji.
“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,” said Trump campaign director of communications, Tim Murtaugh.
The director of communications said that the symbol is used by Antifa and so it was included in an advert about Antifa according to a report by Aljazeera.
However, Antifa has denied using that symbol.
As for Facebook, it says the reason for taking the ad down, was the image.
“We removed these posts and ads for violating our 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,” a spokesperson told CNN.
For clarity, Facebook confirmed the hate group it mentions are Nazis.
With Facebook now finally having pulled a trigger on action against Trump one has to wonder how fiercely he will pursue his plans to remove protections enjoyed by social media companies.
[Image – CC BY 2.0 Gage Skidmore]