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Facebook removes Trump campaign ads with symbols once used by the Nazis

Facebook has removed a US campaign ad. USA President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence presented an upside-down red triangle, a symbol that the Nazis once used to designate political, communist, and other prisoners in concentration camps.

The company said in a statement Thursday that the ads violated "our policy against organized hatred." A Facebook executive who testified Thursday at a House of Representatives intelligence committee hearing said the company does not allow hate ideology symbols "unless they have context or condemnation."

"In a situation where we don't see them either, we don't allow it on the platform, and we remove it. That's what we saw in this case with this ad, and anywhere that symbol is used, we would take the same action, "said Nathaniel Gleicher of Facebook. head of security policy.

The Trump campaign spent more than $ 10,000 on ads, which began running on Wednesday and targeted men and women of all ages across the United States, though primarily in Texas, California, and Florida.

In a statement, Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said the inverted red triangle was a symbol used by Antifa and was therefore included in an announcement about Antifa. He said the symbol is not in the Anti-Defamation League database of hate symbols. The Trump campaign also argued that the symbol is an emoji.

"But it is ironic that he has taken a Trump announcement to force the media to implicitly admit that Antifa is a hate group," he said.

Antifa is a general term for left-wing militants linked more by belief than by organizational structure. Trump blamed Antifa for the violence that erupted during some of the recent anti-racism protests, but federal law enforcement officials have offered little evidence of this.

The ADL questioned whether the red triangle was commonly used as an antifa symbol. The organization said the triangle was not in its database because it is a historical symbol and the database includes only the symbols used by modern extremists and white supremacists.

"Whether aware of history or meaning, for the Trump campaign to use a symbol, one that is virtually identical to that used by the Nazi regime to classify political prisoners in concentration camps, to attack their opponents is offensive and deeply troubling, "ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement.

The action comes as Facebook and other tech companies face persistent criticism, particularly from Democrats, about whether they are doing enough to control the spread. of misinformation and Trump tweets and posts perceived as inflammatory.

These questions came up during Thursday's hearing when a Twitter representative was asked why the company flagged but did not remove the president's tweets, including one that raised the possibility of shooting looters during recent riots in the American cities. Facebook was also asked why it did not remove a tampered video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last year, which appeared to show her dragging her words.

"If we just remove content like this, it doesn't go away," Same said. "It will exist elsewhere on the Internet. People who search for it will still find it."

Misinformation in the spotlight before the elections

With Thursday's hearing focused on spreading disinformation linked to the 2020 elections, companies said they had not yet seen the same type of concerted campaigns from foreign influence like four years ago, when a Russian troll farm sowed discord online by playing divisive social issues.

But that suggests that the threat has evolved rather than diminished, said the executives, who noted that state-controlled media companies were directly and openly interacting online on American social issues to affect public opinion. China, for example, has compared accusations of police brutality in the United States. criticism of his aggressive treatment of protesters in Hong Kong last year.

Preventing disinformation before elections is a major challenge in a country facing potentially dramatic changes in the way people vote, with the expected widespread use of mail sent. ballots create openings to question results and even spread false information.

Facebook said Thursday that it is working to help Americans vote by mail, including by notifying users on how to request ballots and whether their state's election date has

The Vote By Mail notification connects to Facebook users with information on how to request a ballot. It is aimed at voters in states where there is no excuse for voting by mail or where fears of the coronavirus are accepted as a universal excuse.

"Providing accurate information is one of the best ways to mitigate such threats," he said the same.

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