Source: Rod Chester, Facebook shuts vile Aboriginal memes page, despite earlier claiming it didn’t constitute ‘hate speech’, News.com.au, January 27 2014
FACEBOOK has shut down a racist Facebook page which vilified Indigenous Australians with revolting jokes and illustrations, despite earlier telling a complainant the page was acceptable under its ‘community standards’ policy.
The Aboriginal Memes 2014 page was today shut down after a query from News Corp about why it failed to be classified as ‘hate speech’ under the social networking site’s community standards policy.
It featured so-called jokes referencing the Stolen Generation and poverty among other issues too inflammatory to reference.
Facebook supplied a statement yesterday that said: “We remove content that is reported to us that violates our policies. Our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities that everyone agrees to when they create an account and which are linked to throughout the site explains what is and is not permitted on the site and explicitly prohibits hate speech.”
But earlier the site had responded to a complainant with a statement that said: “We reviewed the page you reported for containing hate speech or symbols and found it doesn’t violate our Community Standards.”
The action by Facebook today was similar to the site’s response in 2012, when the social network shut down the page “Aboriginal Memes” when the Australian Communications and Media Authority announced it would investigate it after repeated complaints failed to have it closed.
And late last year, Facebook shut down Centrelink Memes following inquiries into why the page had been cleared of violating the social network’s hate speech guidelines.
All three pages used similar graphics and text.
The latest Facebook racism controversy comes a day after footballer and anti-racism campaigner Adam Goodes was named Australian of the Year for his work combating racism.
In 2012, the Aboriginal Memes page become international news, with the Facebook page reported to be the work of a then 16-year-old Perth teenager.
The Online Hate Prevention Institute has been leading the campaign against the online attacks on indigenous Australians, releasing a report in 2012 into the Aboriginal Memes site.
The institute report highlighted the unwillingness of Facebook to recognise comments as hate speech.
Dr Andre Oboler, CEO of the Online Hate Prevention Institute, said Facebook should be congratulated for addressing the problem quicker than in the past but it was concerned that initial response to complaints about the page was to reject it.
“Rejecting reports of racism sends the wrong message to both users reporting the hate and to those who promote hate. It sends a message that such content is acceptable,” he said.
“OHPI’s data shows that the person behind this latest page was involved in multiple hate pages and is cooperating with people running a wider network of hate pages against multiple ethnic communities.
“As a result the Aboriginal Memes 2014 page was promoted across a range of pages which are still carrying some of the same content; one such page is Aussie Bogan Memes which has almost 3000 supporters.”