Facebook has stated that the page ‘Say No to Roma Gypsies’ is not in breach of their Community Standards, despite being alerted to its hateful and discriminatory content.
Facebook’s Standards state: “We do not permit individuals or groups to attack others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition.”
Facebook have even stood by comments like: “I f*cking hate these vile pieces of sh*t. They should be f*cking incinerated..!!” Saying: “We reviewed the comment you reported for containing hate speech or symbols and found it doesn’t violate our Community Standards.”
The Big Life group’s chief executive Fay Selvan said: “The creators of the Facebook page have clearly targeted an ethnic group for discrimination and have chosen not to moderate violent, hateful and false comments directed at Roma people by other users.
“Clearly this page goes against Facebook’s own rules and regulations, as well as the values of a civilised and diverse society.”
Roma communities have faced persecution and violence for centuries, from the 8th Century conquests to the Nazi holocaust. Targeted discrimination and violence has continued largely uninterrupted and, as recently as 2008, mandatory fingerprinting within Roma communities in Italy was called a “direct act of racial discrimination” by the European Parliament.
In the last couple of months we have seen false allegations of child trafficking directed at Roma parents and senior British politicians fuelling public anxiety about ‘Roma behaviour’ in Sheffield.
“This trend needs to stop” said Ms Selvan, “Facebook should do more to minimise hate speech and incitements to violence on its website.
“Online communities like ‘Say No to Roma Gypsies’ do not contribute to the public discussion and only serve to stir up tension and disseminate dangerous myths and rumours.”
If you wish to, you can report that page to Facebook by clicking the icon here.
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The Big Issue in the North is part of The Big Life group of charities and social businesses.
In 2011, The Big Life group ran the Roma Community Cohesion Project which worked in partnership with local schools, health services, Manchester University, Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Police to build greater understanding between the Roma community and other residents in the Longsight and Gorton areas of Manchester. An evaluation of the project is available here.