Facebook removes ‘offensive and deeply troubling’ Trump ads with an infamous Nazi symbol

Facebook removes ‘offensive and deeply troubling’ Trump ads with an infamous Nazi symbol
Royalty-free stock photo ID: 1242462376 Kansas City, Missouri, USA, 12th March, 2016 Presidential Candidate Donald Trump addresses a crowd of about 3200 loyal supporters during a campaign rally in Kansas City today.
Election '20

During the 1930s, Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime used a red inverted triangle to identify a variety of political prisoners — from communists to liberals to members of opposition parties. A red inverted triangle, according to Washington Post reporter Isaac Stanley-Becker, was used in some online ads by President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign — and Facebook has removed them.

“The red symbol appeared in paid posts sponsored by Trump and Vice President Pence, as well as by the Team Trump campaign page,” Stanley-Becker explains. “It was featured alongside text warning of ‘Dangerous MOBS of far-left groups’ and asking users to sign a petition about Antifa, a loose collection of anti-fascist activists whom the Trump administration has sought to link to recent violence, despite arrest records that show their involvement is trivial.”

Stanley-Becker reports that Facebook, on Thursday afternoon, “deactivated ads that included the inverted red triangle.”

Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesman, told the Post, “We removed these posts and ads for violating our policy against organized hate. Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group’s symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol.”

Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for Trump’s campaign, indicated that the red inverted triangle was used not to praise Nazis, but to smear Antifa. Murtaugh told the Post, “The red triangle is an Antifa symbol.” However, Stanley-Becker notes, “A more common emblem for the anti-fascist movement includes two flags, one red and one black, enclosed in a circle.”

Jacob S. Eder, a historian based in Berlin, Germany, offered some insights on the red inverted triangle and how it has been used in recent decades. Stanley-Becker writes, “Although certain symbols the Nazis deployed have been reclaimed, including the pink triangle used in concentration camps to label gay inmates, the red triangle has not been recast in a similar way, said Jacob S. Eder.”

Eder told the Post, “I think it’s a highly problematic use of a symbol that the Nazis used to identify their political enemies. It’s hard to imagine it’s done on purpose, because I’m not sure if the vast majority of Americans know or understand the sign. But it’s very, very careless, to say the least.”

Anti-Defamation Leader CEO Jonathan Greenblatt told the Post that using a red inverted triangle in political advertising is “offensive and deeply troubling.” And Deborah E. Lipstadt, described by Stanley-Becker as a “leading American scholar of the Holocaust,” told the Post that the Trump campaign’s use of the inverted red triangle is “an insensitivity, and likely indicative of who’s around the table when these decisions are being made. I find it shocking.”

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