Tuesday 22 September 2020

Facebook starts removing Zwarte Piet stereotypes, big groups are gone

Photo: Brandon Hartley

Facebook has begun removing groups and pages dedicated to supporters of Zwarte Piet, just weeks after announcing that blackface and exaggerated racial characteristics would no longer be accepted on the social media channel, news website Nu.nl said on Friday.

Pages such as Zwarte Piet liefhebbers, Actiegroep Pro Zwarte Piet and Red Zwarte Piet, with tens of thousands of likes between them, have already disappeared, Nu.nl said. Other pages have turned themselves into closed groups to avoid the ban.

Facebook said in mid August that it would ban content that includes ‘implicit hate speech’ like blackface or anti-Semitic stereotypes on a global scale.

However, the platform’s moderators are not taking action against the images directly, and will only intervene if alerted to photos and video which break the guidelines.

Eventually the aim is to use artificial intelligence to police websites for blackface images and videos, a spokesman for the company told Nu.nl.

Facebook could not say how many pages or groups have been removed so far. ‘We’ve only just started,’ the spokesman said.

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