Confederate Groups Are Thriving on Facebook. What Does That Mean for the Platform?

Earlier this month, a meme was shared in the Facebook group Save Southern Heritage that featured the portraits of two men: the Prophet Mohammed on the left and Robert E. Lee on the right, their chins tilting toward each other. “[Mohammed] owned many slaves. Robert E. Lee was against slavery,” the caption reads. “So why are we tearing down statues instead of mosques?” That post, which received 248 likes, is still up, despite the suggestion of real-world violence (and its use of Mohammed’s image). But a comment, rambling about Arabs and Jews “running this mess” as a “little joke,” was removed within hours. Whether it was Facebook’s algorithms, or content moderators, or one of the group’s eight admins, a decision was made that one had to go while the other could stay. One slipped through the porous “free speech” filter; the other did not.


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