With President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign now in full swing, his campaign is purchasing an array of advertisements — including a big investment in social media.
Facebook, however, has decided that one of his ads will not run on its platform based on a symbol it contained, the Associated Press reports.
“Put up with context or condemnation”
According to the Associated Press, the tech giant pulled the spot on the grounds that they showed an inverted red triangle identified as a Nazi symbol. A company statement asserted that the campaign ad violated “our policy against organized hate.”
At a House Intelligence Committee hearing this week, the head of Facebook’s security policy testified that symbols affiliated with hate groups are prohibited “unless they’re put up with context or condemnation.”
Nathaniel Gleicher went on to note that such a post would be removed in any situation without the presence of one of those two characteristics.
“That’s what we saw in this case with this ad, and anywhere that that symbol is used, we would take the same action,” he said, according to the AP.
“Offensive and deeply troubling”
Tim Murtaugh, the director of communications for the Trump campaign, offered a different take, insisting the symbol is used by Antifa, the loose affiliation of political activists that the president has sought to classify as a terrorist organization.
“But it is ironic that it took a Trump ad to force the media to implicitly concede that Antifa is a hate group,” Murtaugh said.
He went on to point out that the symbol does not appear in a database maintained by the Anti-Defamation League, which has compiled the list as part of its effort to combat racism and extremism. ADL Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Greenblatt explained, however, that the symbol was not included because the organization only tracks symbols currently in use.
“Whether aware of the history or meaning, for the Trump campaign to use a symbol — one which is practically identical to that used by the Nazi regime to classify political prisoners in concentration camps — to attack his opponents is offensive and deeply troubling,” Greenblatt said, according to the AP.
The decision to take down the campaign ad was followed by Facebook’s decision on Friday to remove a doctored video of two toddlers embracing that had been shared by Trump, as Business Insider reported. Twitter previously added a note to the same video on the president’s feed advising users that it had been manipulated.
Trump and many of his supporters believe social media companies have an inherent bias against Trump and the GOP. It remains to be seen whether decisions like those by Facebook this week will lead to new allegations on that front.