aborigine

Facebook removes racist joke page after thousands sign online petition

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A Facebook page dedicated to racist jokes about Australian Aborigines has been removed after users complained to the site Tuesday, CNET reported.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority originally said that Facebook was outside of their jurisdiction, but they launched an investigation after receiving complaints. They confirmed to reporters that they were the ones to report the page, which was started by a 16-year-old boy and had more than 4,500 likes.

The page, titled “Controversial Humor Aboriginal Memes,” featured Aboriginal stereotypes, and a Change.org petition to take the page down has collected over 14,000 signatures.

“People who ridicule our indigenous peoples are sadly ignorant of our shared history and the disregard, ignorance, racism and violence that was perpetrated against these people and the lasting effects it has had,” Catherine Smith, who signed the petition, wrote. “By allowing this type of media ridicule on our indigenous peoples we are making the same misinformed racist decisions that our forebears made.”

They also made a Facebook page to support shutting down the Aboriginal Memes page, which has over 4,700 supporters.

Originally, Facebook told reporters that the Aboriginal Memes page did not violate their Statement of Rights and responsibility, but it’s stated in their Community Standards that they do not allow hate speech on their site.

“While we encourage you to challenge ideas, institutions, events and practices, it is a serious violation to attack a person based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition,” the policy read.

The page might have also been against Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act 1975, which prohibits targeting a specific race or national origin in a way that’s likely to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” members of that group.

“There’s a difference between free speech, which is the public interest, and the depiction of people on the basis of race, which is insulting, humiliating, degrading and stereotypical,” Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr. Helen Szoke told the Fraser Coast Chronicle.

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