19 Jun 2020

Facebook pulls Trump re-election ad featuring 'Nazi' symbolism

12:48 pm on 19 June 2020

Facebook has removed ads from Donald Trump's 2020 re-election campaign that featured imagery the social network says violates its policy banning "organised hate".

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee on "An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors" in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC on October 23, 2019.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg (file photo). Photo: AFP

The Trump ads in question blasted "Dangerous MOBS of far-left groups," which it claimed are "running through our streets and causing absolute mayhem".

The ads featured an upside-down triangle, which anti-hate groups said was strikingly similar to notorious Nazi symbols denoting political prisoners in World War II concentration camps.

"We removed these posts and ads for violating our policy against organised hate," a Facebook spokesperson confirmed to Variety.

"Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group's symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol."

The Trump ads on Facebook also called on his followers to "stand with your President and declare ANTIFA a Terrorist Organization".

Progressive watchdog group Media Matters called out the Trump 2020 ads Thursday on Twitter, claiming the president's campaign ran 88 individual ads on Facebook with the inverted red triangle - which it said was "an infamous Nazi symbol".

In response, the Trump campaign said that the down-pointing red triangle is an emoji and "a symbol widely used by Antifa".

The Trump campaign also said it is not included in the Anti-Defamation League's Hate Symbols Database.

Anti-Defamation League chief executive Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement on Twitter that 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."

Earlier this month, Facebook employees spoke out against the tech giant's decision not to remove or flag a controversial post by Mr Trump relating to the protests across the US over the death in police custody of African American George Floyd.

The president posted a comment on the social network saying that he would "send in the National Guard" and warned that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts". But Facebook said it did not violate its company policy.

Mr Trump had tweeted the same comments, and Twitter had placed a warning over the content, which it said "glorified violence".

- Reuters / BBC