Facebook took down ads from the Trump campaign on Thursday for violating its policies against “organized hate.”
The ads encouraged supporters to back Trump on his call to declare antifa, a decentralized movement of far-left anti-fascism activists, a terrorist organization. The ads feature a photo of an upside-down red triangle, a symbol activists say Nazis once used to mark political prisoners in concentration camps.
Facebook’s ad library shows that the ads, paid for by the Trump campaign’s fundraising committee, first started running on the platform on Wednesday. The ads blamed “Dangerous MOBS of far-left groups” for “DESTROYING our cities and rioting” and featured a link to a petition for people to show their backing of Trump. Two other ads — which use the same wording but don’t include the photo of the red triangle — remain active on Facebook.
“We removed these posts and ads for violating our policy against organized hate,” Facebook said in a statement to Business Insider. “Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group’s symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol.”
Shortly after the ad in question went live on Facebook, Jewish advocacy groups criticized the ad’s use of an inverted red triangle. The CEO of the Anti-Defamation League wrote on Twitter that during World War II, Nazis used this symbol to indicate which people were political prisoners in concentration camps.
A Twitter account for the Trump campaign defended its use, writing on Twitter that the symbol “is widely used by Antifa” and does not appear in ADL’s Hate Symbols Database.
Trump announced earlier this month he planned to designate antifa a terrorist organization. Though several Republican lawmakers have blamed antifa for rioting and violence against police officers during Black Lives Matter protests in recent weeks, the FBI has “no intelligence” indicating any involvement of the loosely organized group, according to The Nation.
Facebook’s action against Trump’s ad comes amid a battle between the president and social platforms. Twitter first took unprecedented action against Trump’s account last month when it fact-checked two of his tweets containing false claims about voting by mail. The move almost immediately prompted Trump to issue an executive order targeting Section 230, a statute that allows social-media companies to regulate the content on their platforms and protects them from being liable for what users post.
Nonetheless, this isn’t the first time Facebook has removed ads from the Trump campaign. In March, Facebook announced some of Trump’s ads violated policies put in place to “prevent confusion around the official US census.”