June 18, 2020

Ads from President Trump's campaign have been yanked from Facebook after the company says they violated its policy against "organized hate."

The Trump campaign this week ran advertisements on Facebook that asked supporters to back Trump's "decision to declare antifa a terrorist organization" and showed an upside-down red triangle; the Anti-Defamation League said this symbol is "practically identical to that used by the Nazi regime to classify political prisoners in concentration camps," CNN reports. Now, the ads have been removed.

"We removed these posts and ads for violating our policy against organized hate," a Facebook spokesperson said, per CNN. "Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group's symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol."

The Trump campaign claimed the symbol is "widely used by antifa," and the campaign's director of communications told CNN "it's curious" Facebook pulled the ad when it "has an inverted red triangle emoji in use."

Historian Jacob S. Eder told The Washington Post the use of the symbol was "highly problematic," saying that "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 League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt also said that "ignorance is not an excuse for appropriating hateful symbols." Brendan Morrow

January 9, 2020

A Brazilian judge has ordered Netflix to take down a controversial comedy special in which Jesus is portrayed as a gay man.

Benedicto Abicair, a Rio de Janeiro judge, on Wednesday ordered Netflix to remove The First Temptation of Christ, a satirical Christmas special released last month in which it's suggested that Jesus is gay, saying that "the consequences of spreading and exhibiting this 'artistic production' ... are more likely to provoke more serious and irreparable damage than the movie's suspension," The Washington Post reports.

"The right to freedom of expression ... is not absolute," the judge also said, BBC News reports.

The First Temptation of Christ's release in early December sparked a fierce backlash in Brazil, and the Rio de Janeiro headquarters of the comedy troupe that created it was attacked with molotov cocktails on Christmas Eve. There were no injuries in the attack.

The judge's ruling this week came in response to a complaint from a Catholic institute. "For the time being, the ban is binding, unless another court rules otherwise," Variety reports.

The Post notes Netflix has faced pressure to remove content overseas before, having last year taken down an episode of Hasan Minhaj's Patriot Act in Saudi Arabia critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after a request from the Saudi royal family. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings defended that decision in November, saying, "We're not in the news business. We're not trying to do 'truth to power.' We're trying to entertain." Brendan Morrow

November 8, 2019

The whistleblower is going down — from Facebook.

On Friday, Facebook announced it would take down any posts containing the name conservatives are alleging belongs to the Ukraine whistleblower. Spreading the name "violates our coordinating harm policy," Facebook said in a statement, so it is "removing any and all mentions of the potential whistleblower's name."

Under that policy, Facebook prohibits "outing of witness, informant, or activist." That would include the Ukraine whistleblower, who raised concerns about President Trump's call with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump pushed for an investigation into the Bidens. Right-wing sites have started speculating on the identity of the whistleblower, but Facebook said it would only reconsider its decision if their name was "widely published in the media or used by public figures in debate."

Facebook didn't say if lawmakers or government officials had requested the takedown, though it has previously been reluctant to purge the site of deceptive posts. The alleged whistleblower's name still remains all over Twitter, including on the feed of President Trump's own son. Kathryn Krawczyk

January 28, 2016

The Washington Post tore into Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in its Thursday editorial, questioning the authenticity of his message and the plausibility of his promises. While Sanders may be positioned as an "uncorrupted anti-establishment crusader," The Post posits that he "is not a brave truth-teller," but a "politician selling his own brand of fiction to a slice of the country that eagerly wants to buy it."

The Washington Post suggests Sanders needs a "reality check" on his Wall Street proposals, a better explanation of just how he would ration health care like European countries, and an acknowledgment of the "many legitimate checks and balances in the political system that he cannot wish away." All in all, The Post concludes, Sanders just isn't all that different from other politicians:

Strong ideological preferences guide his thinking, except when politics does, as it has on gun control. When reality is ideologically or politically inconvenient, he and his campaign talk around it. Mr. Sanders' success so far does not show that the country is ready for a political revolution. It merely proves that many progressives like being told everything they want to hear. [The Washington Post]

Read the full editorial at The Washington Post. Becca Stanek

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