The page Military Memes (ID 309944675811335) is a very large Facebook page with memes largely about military life. This is not a hate page, but a generally non-hateful humour page with almost half a million supporters (493,056 to be exact).
On Sunday the page posted a Hitler meme. The meme consists of various stills and each frame is captioned with a line from “I Will Survive” the 1978 hit by Gloria Gaynor. Memes using Hitler are not always racist, for example, neither most of the Hitler Downfall parodies, nor Charlie Chaplain’s famous comedy routines are racist. The image of Hitler can be used in comedy, but on social media this is high risk as the poster doesn’t know where the audience will take it. The admin of the page realized this and paused before they posted, eventually posting with the comment: “Couldn’t decide if this was offensive or hilarious. Fuck it you guys decide.”
With so many followers on the page, the post quickly went viral with 2,526 likes and 1,046 shares. The post also attracted 344 comments. Some of these were outright hate. The most popular was a written reply which made various word plays typically seen on neo-Nazi forums. This sort of a response mocks the victims of the Nazis and makes light of the Holocaust in a manner which simply doesn’t occur in the original post.
Other responses were even more blatant:
One person asked who gets offended by Hitler memes. The issue is not mocking Hitler, its when that turns into callous disregard for those he killed. Joking about Hitler’s gas bill, for example, can be seen as making light of those who were murdered then incinerated in the Nazi extermination camps.
A post about the September 11 attack on the United States changes the tone.
We would encourage our supporters to go through the thread and report those images and posts that cross the line into hate speech. You can see the thread here. We would encourage the administrator of the page to moderate it, banning users who have crossed the line. OHPI recommends pages avoid Hitler memes unless they have the resources to heavily moderate the response.
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