Tech

Fb eliminates three white supremacist band pages — leaves 117 others

Facebook has removed pages of the heavy-metal bands SoldierSS of Evil, Whitelaw, and Frangar for violating the platform’s hate speech policies.

The ban follows a new Al Jazeera investigation that identified 120 Facebook pages — with a total of over 800,000 likes — of mostly heavy-metal bands and record labels with direct ties to white supremacist ideology. Al Jazeera flagged five of these pages to Facebook for breaking the platform’s hate speech rules by displaying white supremacist ideology, but two are still under review.

According to Al Jazeera, the majority of the pages have been online for years, actively posting updates and advertising their merchandise, sometimes using white supremacist imagery. One of the bands whose infringing page is still up is M8l8th, a black metal music act from Ukraine whose full name means “Hitler’s Hammer.”

The band’s founder has ties to far-right nationalist movements and the band uses Nazi propaganda in its songs, such as parts of a speech by Joseph Goebbels and the official anthem of the Nazi party, Horst Wessel-Lied.

[Read: Facebook issues $100K challenge to build an AI that can identify hateful memes]

Yarno Ritzen, the journalist who led Al Jazeera’s investigation, told TNW that they only flagged five of the pages, but Facebook should be aware of all 120 as most examples were simply found through ‘Related pages.’

“So it shouldn’t be too hard for Facebook to identify the majority of these pages by going down its own rabbit hole,” Ritzen wrote in reply to TNW.

The bigger bands on the list are smarter about obscuring their obvious ties with racist ideologies — like trying to blur some of the content that goes against Facebook’s policies, such as swastikas, SS logos, etc. — but others remain flagrantly racist. SoldierSS of Evil’s lyrical themes are, for example, commonly categorized as “National Socialism, Antisemitism,” so TNW asked Facebook why it hadn’t removed the pages years earlier.

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Credit: Encyclopaedia Metallum
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