Facebook pulled down a series of ads and posts run by President Donald Trump's re-election campaign for violating its "policy against organized hate", the company said on Thursday. Among them, one featured a symbol associated with the Nazis. There were several other ads too that Facebook feels could have reached millions of its users and hurt their sentiments.
Facebook's decision to remove the ads come just days after the company was criticized by its own employees for not removing or moderating a post by Trump that read "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." The social media giant has often come under fire for its policy of allowing political ads that contain false statements and misinformation.
Facebook Fights 'Organized Hate'
Facebook on Thursday removed a cluster of Trump re-election campaign ads that attacked Antifa with the image of an upside-down red triangle, a prominent symbol worn by political prisoners at Nazi concentration camps. The symbol was used in campaign ads by Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Team Trump, a dedicated campaign account.
Antifa, the decentralized anti-fascist movement, has often drawn Trump's ire. The ads called on Trump's supporters to back the President's appeal to brand the group a terrorist organization. The now-removed ads which attacked Antifa were described by Trump's campaign as "Dangerous MOBS of far-left groups."
"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 Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.
Not the First Time
Trump has time and again vented his anger against Antifa, a term often used to refer to networks of left-wing activists opposed to fascism and white nationalism. So much so, that Trump even blamed Antifa for violence and protests over the killing of George Floyd, an African-American who died in a police chokehold last month.
Campaign officials claimed on Twitter that the symbol is sometimes used by Antifa. According to Facebook's Ad Library, the ads started running on Trump's main Facebook page. The social media giant decided to take down the ads after Bend the Arc, a progressive Jewish activist organization, drew attention to the ads on Twitter on Wednesday. One of the versions of the ads targeted male voters in Texas and, according to Facebook Ad Library, could have reached more than one million users.
This isn't the first time that Facebook has removed a Trump campaign ad for violating its content rules. In 2018, the company removed a racist ad about migrant caravans that the company described as "sensational content". Facebook was recently criticized by its employees and business partners who argued that Trump's post violates Facebook's community standards after the President in a post wrote "when the looting starts, the shooting starts", following the mass protests and looting after George Floyd's police killing in Minneapolis.