Facebook and Instagram prohibit stereotypical photos and videos Black Pete and Jews

Pictures, photos and videos that stereotype Black Pete may soon be removed from Facebook and Instagram following notifications from users. The measure was announced today, and will take effect in the coming weeks world. Beets without the classic Black Pete features, such as the chimney or soot wipe, will continue to be allowed.

The platforms say that it is content where “clear black makeup or makeup has been used to darken the colour of the face, along with other stereotyping features such as a wig with curls or large lips”.

There are exceptions: messages from opponents of Zwarte Piet and “neutral” messages, as well as news items with images of Zwarte Piet, are allowed. Cartoons can also be removed, depending on the context.

Aside from Zwarte Piet, the two social networks will also ward off “certain harmful” Jewish stereotypes. According to the company, these are “claims that Jews rule the world or are in service in important institutions worldwide”.

Black Pete and ‘blackface’ are globally part of an “ongoing history of dehumanisation and denied civil rights,” says the American company. “Facebook does not accept that users are discriminated against on the basis of race, gender, religion, ethnicity, gender or disease, among other things. On the contrary, vulnerable groups can lose their voice.” Facebook says that Jewish stereotypes are used to incite anti-Semitism.

Below three examples. First a picture of a Black Pete who is no longer allowed, then a picture of a sootblower and finally a Jewish stereotype.

The step is part of a longer running process, it sounds like Facebook. It looks at various stereotypes that the company considers discriminatory. It has now been decided to change the rules around ‘blackface’ and Jewish stereotyping, next time it may be something else.

The discussion about Black Pete in the Netherlands, the recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations and the recent advertising boycott were, according to Facebook, not a direct cause.

Size worldwide

In a press briefing with journalists, the company acknowledged that the decision to ban Zwarte Piet could mean that Dutch users are running away from the platforms. “This could mean a setback, but it’s the right choice for us.” When asked whether this affects freedom of speech, the social network said that it is “not absolute”.

Facebook takes the measure worldwide and emphasizes that it has been discussed for nine months. The company asked advice from sixty organisations and experts from all over the world

It has been forbidden for some time to make comparisons on Facebook and Instagram between, for example, Muslims and pigs, and women as objects.