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Facebook takes down Trump ads over Nazi hate symbol

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook said it took down posts and ads run by the re-election campaign of US President Donald Trump for violating its organised hate policy.

The ads showed a red inverted triangle, a symbol the Nazis used to identify political prisoners, with text asking users to sign a petition against antifa, an anti-fascist movement.

Trump has repeatedly singled out antifa as a major instigator of recent unrest during nationwide anti-racism protests but showed little evidence.

“Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group’s symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol,” said a Facebook spokesperson.

The symbol was run on pages belonging to Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, as well as on ads and organic posts on the ‘Team Trump’ page.

“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,” the Anti-Defamation League’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, said in a statement.

Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, said the inverted red triangle is a symbol used by Antifa and was included in an advertisement.

“We would note that Facebook still has an inverted red triangle emoji in use, which looks exactly the same, so it’s curious that they would target only this ad. The image is also not included in the Anti-Defamation League’s database of symbols of hate,” he said in an email to a news agency.

A spokesman for the ADL said its database was not one of historical Nazi symbols but of those “commonly used by modern extremists and white supremacists in the United States.”

He also said that there have been some antifa members who have used the red triangle but that it was not a common symbol used by the group.

There are around 88 versions of the ad using the symbol from the three Facebook pages. Ads from Trump’s page had gained at least 800,000 impressions.

When asked about the ads’ removal at a US House Intelligence Committee hearing, Facebook’s head of security policy said the company would take the same actions if the symbol appeared in other places on the platform.

Facebook has previously removed Trump campaign ads, including ones that violated the company’s policy against misinformation on the government’s census.

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