Since the week of April 9th 2012, the Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI) has been monitoring a number of Facebook pages created to spread hateful content about ANZAC veterans. OHPI have discussed the situation with the RSL and police and have notified the Department for Veteran’s Affairs. These cowardly attacks will be ignored by most veterans, but have caused outrage from the small number of Australian and New Zealanders who have seen the pages. What’s clear from monitoring the online activity is that those who would support attacks on our veterans are few and far between. The pages in question have very few fans and most of the fans on inspection appear to be recently created fake accounts. OHPI has reason to believe most if not all of the fake accounts are operated by the page owner
OHPI believes Facebook has responded appropriately and in a timely fashion to OHPI’s notifications, removing not only the first hate page, but also associated infrastructure within a number of days. A second page created on Saturday was removed in under 60 hours. We believe Facebook will keep removing the hate pages, and the creator will keep replacing them, at least until ANZAC day. Facebook’s response in Australia is a significant improvement over their response to similar pages aimed at British soldiers on Remembrance Day last year. OHPI believes the fast response shows not only the improved policy by Facebook, but also the company’s recognition and respect for the symbolism of the ANZACs to Australia.
Online action is clearly not enough to put an end to these attacks. OHPI believe the Police need to intervene and charge the person behind these pages. We believe offences have been committed both under the Queensland Criminal Code, specifically S 359E which has a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment, and under the Commonwealth’s Criminal Code Act 1995, specifically S 474.14, the crime of “Using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence”, which carries a maximum 3 year prison term.
Examples of the content being posted:
The person behind these pages has regularly impersonated others, inlcuding OHPI’s CEO, Dr Andre Oboler. Facebook users are encourage to report any further pages of a similar nature to Facebook and to notify OHPI by messaging us through our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/onlinehate. We encourage the Facebook community not to speculate about the identity of the poster as this can lead to abuse, intimidation or threats being made to innocent third parties who have been selected as targets by the creator of these pages. His latest efforts see the poster pretending to be Muslim in order to incite hate against Muslim Australians. Please report and then ignore him.
OHPI can confirm that the page at www.facebook.com/106408162893161 which is calling for the removal of all anti-ANZAC Facebook pages is legitimate and is run by ANZAC veterans. We encourage those opposing this hate to join this page in solidarity. We also encourage you to become a fan of OHPI’s page at www.facebook.com/onlinehate. As a dedicated charity against online hate, we could use your visible support to help us become more effective.