Facebook removes the biggest Zwarte Piet pages from its platform. The social media giant announced a few weeks ago that it would be banning images and videos of Zwarte Piet, with exceptions for material that was oppositional in nature.
So far, the pages affected have been those with thousands of followers, such as Zwarte Piet enthusiasts (with over 52.2 thousand likes), Action Group Zwarte Piet (44.6 thousands likes), and Red Zwarte Piet (30 thousand likes), reports NU.nl. These pages have been taken down, and people visiting will receive a notification that the content is not available.
Facebook has allowed some Zwarte Piet pages with fewer followers to remain. For example, the private group PRO Zwarte Piet page, with 17.3 thousand members, is still available. Other still-existing pages have even fewer followers. Members can report images that violate the blackface policy.
A movement to end blackface
The Zwarte Piet ban was part of a global approach to addressing blackface, aiming to stave off harmful stereotypes. Facebook stated in its ban that “plain black face paint or make-up that has been used to darken the colour of the face, along with other stereotyping features such as a wig with curls or large lips’ will be prohibited.”
For now, Facebook relies on users to report content featuring the banned character, but that is expected to change. A Facebook spokesperson said the goal is to “eventually use artificial intelligence for blackface policy, as we already do a lot for other house rules.” The technology still has a way to go, and Facebook wants to ensure that that freedom of expression isn’t compromised.
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