Facebook said that is has removed an ad from President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign that featured an upside down red triangle, a symbol that was once used by Nazis to identify political prisoners.
“We removed these posts and ads for violating our policy against organized hate,” said Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesman. “Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group’s symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol.”
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The ad appeared on the platform and in a post on the Team Trump page, with the message, “Dangerous MOBS of far-left groups are running through our streets and causing absolute mayhem. They are destroying our cities and rioting — it’s absolute madness.”
In the Trump campaign posts, the markings were used to attack Antifa, the anti-fascist groups that have been a frequent target of those on the right on claims of stoking unrest. “Please add your name IMMEDIATELY to stand with your President and his decision to declare ANTIFA a Terrorist Organization.”
The Anti-Defamation League’s Jonathan Greenblatt wrote on Twitter that the “Nazis used red triangles to identify their political victims in concentration camps. Using it to attack political opponents is highly offensive. @POTUS‘ campaign needs to learn its history, as ignorance is no excuse for using Nazi-related symbols.”
The Nazis used red triangles to identify their political victims in concentration camps. Using it to attack political opponents is highly offensive. @POTUS' campaign needs to learn its history, as ignorance is no excuse for using Nazi-related symbols. https://t.co/7R7aGLD7kl
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) June 18, 2020
A spokesperson for the Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for the campaign, told The Washington Post earlier on Thursday that “the red triangle is an Antifa symbol.” But a more common symbol for Antifa is two flags, one red and one black, with a circle around it.
Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, wrote on Twitter that Facebook’s decision was “insane.” She compared the use of the symbol to those seen everyday, including yield signs and in cable network stock tickers.
Big Tech has gone insane.
They are banning a @realDonaldTrump ad that looks exactly the same as one of Facebook’s own emojis, graphics used on every cable network, and street signs all across the country.
Are you kidding me? pic.twitter.com/tClnFKJ6tr
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) June 18, 2020
Facebook has otherwise taken a hands off approach when it comes to political speech, as it has declined to add fact-check messages or other labels to political content and advertisements from political campaigns. Twitter’s recent decision to put fact checks on two of Trump’s tweets triggered the president to issue an executive order targeted the immunity granted to social media platforms for third party content.
CNN first reported on Facebook’s decision to remove the ads.
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