Facebook Takes Down Trump Ad With Red Triangle, Symbol Once Used in Nazi Germany

The Trump campaign, in response, says the triangle was a reference to Antifa and had nothing to do with Nazi symbolism

Trump at SpaceX launch
Saul Martinez / Getty Images

Facebook on Thursday removed Trump campaign ads and posts featuring an upside down red triangle, a symbol that was used in Nazi Germany to mark political prisoners in concentration camps. The Trump campaign pushed back soon after, saying the red triangle is a sign used by Antifa and that its ad was criticizing the group’s recent involvement in protests and riots.

“We removed these posts and ads for violating our policy against organized hate,” a Facebook rep told TheWrap. “Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group’s symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol.”

Bloomberg’s Sarah Frier shared a screenshot of the deleted ad on Twitter, which you can see below:

The Auschwitz Memorial Twitter account on Thursday said the red triangle “was the most common category of prisoners registered at the Germany Nazi #Auschwitz camp.”

Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign’s director of communications, told TheWrap the triangle was in no way a reference to Nazi Germany.

“The inverted red triangle is a symbol used by Antifa, so it was included in an ad about Antifa. We would note that Facebook still has an inverted red triangle emoji in use, which looks exactly the same, so it’s curious that they would target only this ad,” Murtaugh said in a statement. “The image is also not included in the Anti-Defamation League’s database of symbols of hate. But it is ironic that it took a Trump ad to force the media to implicitly concede that Antifa is a hate group.”

In the ad, the Trump team criticized the recent rioting and looting that followed the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“Dangerous MOBS of far-left groups are running through our streets and causing absolute mayhem,” the ad said. “They are DESTROYING our cities and rioting – it’s absolute madness.”

Facebook’s decision comes after the company and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg have faced criticism in recent weeks over the company’s laissez faire approach to moderating the president’s posts. Its approach has stood in stark contrast to Twitter, which recently attached fact-check notifications to a few of President Trump’s tweets, as well as Snapchat, which said earlier this month it would no longer promote the president’s account for inciting “racial violence.”

Last week, Zuckerberg said he was “disgusted” by the president’s recent comments about protesters and rioters. At the same time, Zuckerberg has been more inclined to let politicians say what they want without having Facebook add qualifiers or notifications to their posts.

“I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” Zuckerberg told Fox News last month. “Private companies probably shouldn’t be, especially these platform companies, shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.”

Zuckerberg had made similar comments multiple times last year, like when Facebook was skewered by many on the left, including Elizabeth Warren, for not fact-checking its political ads.