Facebook has taken down nearly 100 campaign ads of U.S. President Donald Trump that featured an inverted red triangle, a symbol once used by Nazis to designate political prisoners in concentration camps.
The company in a statement Thursday said the ads violated “our policy against organised hate.”
The ads were published on Wednesday by Team Trump on a platform that seeks the reelection of Mr Trump and his Vice, Mike Pence.
The platform ran a collective total 88 of the ads for between 1.3 and 1.7 million impressions before they were pulled Thursday.
According to local reports, Facebook’s head of security policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, who testified at a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday said the company does not permit symbols of hateful ideology “unless they’re put up with context or condemnation.”
“In a situation where we don’t see either of those, we don’t allow it on the platform and we remove it. That’s what we saw in this case with this ad, and anywhere that that symbol is used, we would take the same action,” Mr Gleicher said.
The Trump campaign reportedly spent more than $10,000 (approximately N3.8 million) on the ads—targeted at men and women of all ages across the U.S., though primarily in Texas, California and Florida.
The ads were accompanied with text that warned of “dangerous MOBS of far-left groups” and implored readers to sign a petition indicating their opposition to Antifa.
‘It’s just an emoji’
While Facebook argued the ads violated the company’s policy against organised hate,Trump campaign’s communications director, Tim Murtaugh, argued otherwise.
He said in a statement that “the inverted red triangle symbol is not in the anti-defamation league’s database of symbols of hate but only an emoji.”
The Trump campaign responded by portraying the symbol as both an innocent emoji and one ‘widely used’ by Antifa. A reverse image search of the symbol, however, returns no results other than those used recently by the Trump campaign.
Consequently, the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum confirmed on Twitter that the red triangle was indeed used by the Nazis to flag ‘political prisoners’.
However, a progressive watchdog group, Media Matters, while applauding Facebook’s prompt action on bringing down the ads, questioned why the ads were ran in the first place.
“Despite violating Facebook’s terms of service, the ads were approved by Facebook in the first place,” Media Matter’s president, Angelo Carusone, said in a statement on Twitter.
“Yet again we see another example where Facebook can’t even meet the bare minimum standards they set for themselves — either because they’re incapable or because they’re in cahoots,” he added.
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