Wednesday 22 January 2020

Facebook accused of bowing to political pressure over Dutch nationalist pages

Facebook app on mobile phone

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Facebook has taken down three popular nationalist Dutch websites in the last two months, prompting claims of political interference by the social network.

The three pages, titled ‘Liefde voor Holland’ (Love of Holland), ‘Steun de PVV’ (Support the Freedom Party) and ‘Ik doe GEEN aangifte tegen Wilders’ (I’m NOT filing a complaint against Geert Wilders), had attracted around 200,000 likes between them. Attempts to relaunch them were also taken offline after a short time, NRC reports.

Organisers claim Facebook has buckled to ‘co-ordinated campaigns’ by ‘people who think differently’. Facebook’s guidelines say pages will be taken down if they contain offensive material, but the company denies that it is influenced by political concerns or the number of complaints it receives about a page.

Other similarly themed Facebook pages such as Nederland mijn Vaderland (Netherlands my Fatherland), which has 230,000 likes, are still active, as is a new page called ‘Uitzwaaidag Sylvana Simons’. The page is part of a campaign calling for TV presenter Simons to leave the country following her decision to stand for parliament for the minority rights party Denk.

Anti-racism organisations told the Volkskrant they had received dozens of complaints about the Simons page. ‘This case is exemplary of the growth of racism on social media,’ said Cyriel Triesschijn of Artikel 1, an umbrella organisation for anti-discrimination groups. ‘It is increasingly becoming anti-social media.’

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