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Facebook and Instagram have censored Badlands Unlimited for posting images of a series of rainbow-hued posters with such anti-Trump messages as “FAGS HATE TRUMP” and “GOD HATES IVANKA.” The independent publisher had posted the images on its various social media platforms on January 19, in order to share and distribute them in anticipation of the Women’s Marches in Washington, DC, and New York City. The next day, however, it received a message from Facebook saying that the images did not meet “community standards” and another from Instagram about how the images did not “follow community guidelines.” Both platforms removed the images of the posters, although some photographs showing signs made from them are still up, and the graphics remain on Twitter.
Collectively entitled New Proverbs, the works are a take on the hate-filled posters targeting the LGBTQ community, Muslims, and Jews (among other groups) that are wielded by Westboro Baptist Church members when they picket. “New Proverbs are a parody of a notorious form of hate speech that also serves to denunciate the hateful nature of the new administration,” Badlands said.
Aimed at Trump, who rode to the White House on a wave of white nationalist rhetoric, the posters shouldn’t technically violate Facebook’s or Instagram’s community guidelines. Both platforms say they prohibit hateful content that targets or threatens private individuals; Donald and Ivanka Trump are public figures — and God, if he exists, surely is as well. Both policies, too, define hate speech as attacks on people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or disease — which does not apply to the messages on the Badlands signs, but does to those made by Westboro Baptist Church.
A photo posted by Badlands Unlimited (@badlandsunlmtd) on
Hyperallergic has reached out to both social media companies but has not received a response. Badlands, too, is appealing to them to republish the images. In a statement posted on its website, the publisher said it believes “that the legal threshold for what constitutes ‘community standards’ are too low and vague, and intentionally so.
“The pretense of protecting a community is what typically justifies the stifling of dissent and other forms of ‘other-mindedness’ in images and texts,” the statement reads. “It is Badlands’s opinion that the Trump administration represents a clear and present danger to Christian, Jewish, Muslim, secular, straight, LGBTQ, and other community standards everywhere in the US.”
Badlands has published images of the posters on its website for anyone to download, repost, or print out and plaster around town (including Trump’s many properties). It also sent us some new signs that read, “TIFFANY HATES TRUMP,” “TRUMP LOVES RAPE,” and “PENCE LOVES FAGS.” And the following image now serves as the cover photo of its Facebook page:
Update, 1/26, 4:11 pm: Facebook and Instagram told Hyperallergic the signs do not violate their community standards and have restored the posts. A spokesperson representing both companies sent the following statement:
We’re very sorry about this mistake. The post was removed in error and restored as soon as we were able to investigate. Our team processes millions of reports each week, and we sometimes get things wrong.