On April 3, 2014, Revolution News published an article containing three Carlos Latuff political cartoons. One cartoon in particular caused the article to be removed from Facebook, where the news site shared a link to the posting. The cartoon featured a caricature of Death resurrecting nazi fascism from the grave, referencing a recent scandal over Greece’s prominent neo-nazi party Golden Dawn’s involvements with government officials.
Facebook made no comment about why the post was removed beyond a standard “this image violates community standards” message. Revolution News shared their thoughts about the incident:
“It is our policy to always make a concentrated effort to stay within the Facebook community standards with the images we post on our page. All of us are quite upset that this has happened, and question why this image was perceived to be against Facebook community standards. We would very much like a response from FB as to why it was removed.”
Facebook’s stance that an image violated community standards would be valid if there were actually any sort of a community behind the decision-making process. Facebook users may flag and image or post for being offensive, but that won’t guarantee removal. The actual decision to remove posts is made by a Facebook employee.
On April 4, when Revolution News Facebook page admins logged in, they received warning screens about the “offensive” image. The admin who posted the Latuff cartoon was met with a 12-hour ban from the site, and Revolution News was asked if they wanted to temporarily unpublish their page to review all of their content. They chose not to.
Revolution News did attempt to contact Facebook for more information, and asked that anyone interested upvote a question they posted regarding the ban in Facebook’s community help section.
Casey Gilly is a Contributing Editor for CBLDF, a Staff Writer for Comic Book Resources and, most importantly, a cat enthusiast.