Did Facebook Allow a Post Calling for the Hanging of White People?

A meme attempted to show Facebook's bias when it comes to blocking racist content on its platform.

  • Published 24 June 2020

Claim

Facebook said that a message posted by the user "Adam Butsch" calling for the genocide of white people didn't violate its community standards.

Rating

Origin

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A meme supposedly showing a Facebook post by a user named “Adam Butsch” calling for the genocide of white people — and Facebook’s response that this message didn’t violate their community standards — has been circulating in conservative circles since at least May 2020:

adam butsch gallows facebook post

This meme is frequently shared along with the accusations that Facebook will take swift action against any racist post against Black people, but they will ignore racist posts against white people.

Here are a few of the messages that accompanied this meme as it spread on social media:

FB is out of its fucking mind if this does not violate hate and promote violence. Maybe white privilege is that whites are the only race that can be openly discriminated against and it’s okay.


Replace “white” with “black” and there would be a nationwide uproar. Such a double standard.


Post let’s hang all blacks and see how fast shit gets banned

Although we’ve encountered dozens of postings of this image, we’ve yet to come across any postings that included a link back to the original post. We were also unable to find this message or “Adam Butsch” on Facebook. It’s possible that this message was deleted, but the fact that it is not currently on the social media site runs counter to the claim that Facebook is allowing this message to spread.

We reached out to Facebook for more information about this alleged post, as well as the platform’s alleged determination that it did not violate the company’s community standards. A spokesperson told us that they were unaware of any such posting by a person of this name. The spokesperson also said that they found no indication that a Facebook representative posted a response to this message saying that it didn’t violate their community standards. 

Furthermore, the content of this message is in clear violation of Facebook’s hate speech policy, the spokesperson told us, and if the social media network encountered this post on their site, employees would remove it. 

Facebook writes on its website:

Our Community Standards apply to everyone, all around the world, and to all types of content. They’re designed to be comprehensive – for example, content that might not be considered hateful may still be removed for violating a different policy. We recognize that words mean different things or affect people differently depending on their local community, language, or background. We work hard to account for these nuances while also applying our policies consistently and fairly to people and their expression. In the case of certain policies, we require more information and/or context to enforce in line with our Community Standards.

It should also be noted that this meme does not feature a singular screenshot. This is a combination of two separate (and not necessarily related) images. We’ve also been unable to find any higher resolution versions of this image. As this is a low quality screenshot, it’s difficult to tell if any of the text in this message (most importantly the “Adam Butsch” in the message allegedly sent by Facebook) has been altered. 

In short, we have not found any proof that this posting from “Adam Butsch” was ever posted to Facebook. If it was, it has since been deleted. A spokesperson for Facebook also told us that this message would have violated its hate speech policy if it was truly posted to Facebook, and that the social network would have removed it employees ever encountered it.