Facebook has been taking an initiative to limit hate speech on its platform, and it is now banning a cartoon character embraced by hate groups.
Facebook Unleashes Pepe The Frog Policy
On May 25, Motherboard released documents from Facebook stating that certain images of the Pepe the Frog would be banned from the social media network. In June 2017, Pepe the Frog was also banned from the App Store.
This new ban appears to be a reversal of Facebook's normal policies, which allows fictional characters to be used in a questionable manner. A ban on some Pepe the Frog images would represent a departure from that policy.
"Pepe the Frog has been endorsed by many hate groups to convey hateful messages," Facebook wrote in a training manual for moderators, according to Motherboard.
The leaked training manual lists an example of users posting images of Homer Simpson with a Nazi symbol next to him. Even if this image was flagged on Facebook, moderators are told not to remove it. On the other hand, Pepe the Frog is different because the character is associated with some hate groups.
A distinction for the Pepe of the Frog was disclosed in the leaked training manual. There are two images of Pepe of the Frog — one with the character looking at his hands and the other with him wearing a Nazi uniform in a concentration camp. Facebook moderators were instructed in the manual that the first image is appropriate, but the second image would be removed.
"[This applies to] Pepe the Frog when he is shown in the context of hate," Facebook wrote in the training manual.
Why Is Pepe The Frog Considered Racist?
Pepe the Frog was an internet meme created in 2005. Originally, it was not a character used by hate groups. Instead, it was just a symbol of humor on websites such as Reddit and 4chan.
During the 2016 presidential election, hate groups appropriated the image of Pepe the Frog.
"In recent years, with the growth of the 'alt right' segment of the white supremacist movement, a segment that draws some of its support from some of the above-mentioned Internet sites, the number of 'alt right' Pepe memes has grown, a tendency exacerbated by the controversial and contentious 2016 presidential election," the Anti-Defamation League wrote on its website.
Matt Furie, the creator of Pepe the Frog, retired the character and has used legal action to go after hate groups that use his image.