What Does Facebook Consider To Be Hate Speech?

In Blogby Fedayn30 Comments

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 20.38.09

An image from Preserve Europe page on Facebook


While wading through hours of video shot in portrait this morning in rabble Towers we came across a new race hate site, Preserve Europe. Using this real example we ask is Facebook’s own policy against hate speech being ignored by their professional moderators?

[Update 19 Nov. 2014: Page referred to in this article is no longer available] 

While a great deal of their posts appear to be based around central Europe there are some critical of immigration or integration in Ireland. These include a personal attack on Edmond Lukusa of Sinn Féin.

Facebook page managers will know that monitoring comments on a busy site is next to impossible so Facebook has a simple reporting policy that any user can avail of. With 4 clicks they can report offending pages, posts, users or comments.

These reports are then reviewed by Facebook staff who should apply Facebook’s own guidelines:

“Content that attacks people based on their actual or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or disease is not allowed. We do, however, allow clear attempts at humor or satire that might otherwise be considered a possible threat or attack. This includes content that many people may find to be in bad taste (ex: jokes, stand-up comedy, popular song lyrics, etc.).”

So we followed the procedure.



Within hours we received this notification:

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 20.28.30


Below we feature some of the images posted by the site’s administrators in the last few days – we’ve cropped out the comments from followers of the page which are often highly racist “White Power” in essence .

We’ll let you make up your minds and feel free to visit the page and report offending images yourselves.



  1. To paint everyone with the same brush , mark people because of their religion , country , color , sexual orientation , and to push your beliefs onto others in a hatefulll way towards anyone …

  2. Reckon it’s a load of robots until the reports hit a certain point. Then some office dweller sits up and pays attention.

  3. Seen it earlier, reported it and got the same result. A farce of a policy

  4. That’s incredible – Facebook policy needs a re boot. Disgusting.

  5. That’s interesting Deirdre. I reported those pages a couple of weeks back encouraging people to march on Roma house in Waterford. But Facebook came back saying pages didn’t breach their guidelines. Mystifying.

  6. I’m sure nothing will come of it also but after looking at their page I just had to report them also

  7. Reported it, hopefully the more that do they might take notice

  8. Tried searching the page but couldn’t find it. hopefully it means that it’s been taken down.

  9. Facebook is American remember, where having the right to teach your 5. Yr old daughter to use an Uzi is enshrined in the law with the same reverence as the right to join a klu klux clan rally, or voice bigoted offensive opinions in public

  10. Reported last night! Sickening page…cant find it now so maybe it gone

  11. They’ve taken it down – which is much more likely when it’s an English-language page with pretty classical, “black-and-white” (literally) racist rhetoric. I’ve heard a lot of complaints from colleagues from the Balkans, Turkey etc. that racist and homophobic material they report (to the office in Dublin) falls on deaf ears cause it’s just some anglophone western european lad or lassie who is completely insensitive to cultural and regional differences and nuances… just sayin’…. anyway glad its down.

    1. That’s completely true. You should see some of the Russian homophobic pages that exist calling for the burning and torture of homosexuals and even advocating rape for lesbians. I’ve reported them but because they are in Russian it doesn’t seem to bother Facebook. They need a complete overhall of the dept that deals with these issues. Its even more embarrassing that the dept is actually based in Dublin.

  12. Reported it too. Was refused. It seems to be down now though. Vile stuff. Facebook probably don’t asign a human to the report until a certain number of reports come through.

  13. I reported a racist comment (about Roma people), they didn’t remove it, and I also received the following answer from the guy who wrote the comment in the first place: “shut up bringing race into it, they kicked the head off a local musician, they go around begging with coffe cups, shaking them in your face, i told that wan to piss OFF outa me face last week in town, one of them tried to rape a girl, i say hunt them out! and if it was an irish person doing it, the same to them aswell, the race card, always has to be brought up by the high and mighty types, WHIST UP OUT OF IT!” If that is not hate speech, I wonder what is.

  14. I tried last night twice reporting the page in general and then on a racist post but got the same replies back from Facebook saying it wasn’t going to take action, thankfully I think your article got the word out there and they must have changed their minds 🙂

  15. Yeah, people who moderate spaces online should really try to keep obviously oppressive speech away, especially when its drawn to their attention, amirite.

  16. Just out of curiosity, is it possible to be anti-immigration without being a dirty stinking racist?

  17. I made one comment to a troll about “defending the indefensible zio ….” because he was a z i o n st and it got removed yet my complaints about these posts to fb they did not seem to bother them. I do not therefore think it is a robot, I think I got one complaint from the guy defending the indefensible…..:p fb could be a race is t he truth

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