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30 Apr, 2021 13:30

Facebook bans RT’s digital content project Redfish after posts marking end of Mussolini’s dictatorship and Holocaust Memorial Day

Facebook bans RT’s digital content project Redfish after posts marking end of Mussolini’s dictatorship and Holocaust Memorial Day

RT’s Redfish, an award-winning Berlin-based digital content project, has had its Facebook page of over 830,000 followers deleted over posts commemorating the Holocaust and the defeat of Italian fascism.

The company’s Facebook account was suspended on Friday after a recent post that criticized fascism. Redfish said Facebook deleted the page on the grounds that its posts commemorating the Holocaust and the defeat of Italian fascism violated its community standards.

The post in question featured an upside-down photo of Italy’s dictator Benito Mussolini. It was written on April 28, marking the day when Adolf Hitler’s Axis ally was executed.

As the latest post by the Redfish account to be taken down in a year, it triggered a full suspension of the page, which had over 830,000 followers. Earlier in January, on Holocaust Memorial Day, Facebook removed a post showing historic photos of survivors of the Auschwitz death camp.

The photos were bizarrely flagged as violating rules on “nudity and sexual activity.”

RT reached out to Facebook for comment but, at the time of publication, is yet to receive a reply.

Last year, Facebook slapped Redfish’s account with a label warning readers that the company is “funded in whole or in part by the Russian government.” It was part of a larger drive by Big Tech to add alarming descriptors to media companies linked to countries that Washington perceives as its rivals.

The platform has made other questionable censorship decisions concerning historic photos. In May 2020, it prevented attempts to post a colorized version of the iconic photo of Soviet soldiers flying a flag over the captured Reichstag building in Germany. Facebook said the image broke “standards on dangerous individuals and organizations,” but later blamed a glitch in its algorithm for the blunder.

Facebook has been quite compliant with Washington's demand to counter what is termed state-sponsored misinformation on the network. A few years ago it partnered with the Atlantic Council – a NATO think-tank funded by major Western weapons producers – to identify “emerging threats and disinformation campaigns from around the world”. And this year it hired notorious “troll hunter” Ben Nimmo to provide his expertise on the issue.Both sources tend to blame Russia, without evidence, for things like the 2019 leak of NHS documents that suggested plans for partial privatization of the UK’s cherished public health service. Nimmo also happens to be on the list of purported operatives of Integrity Initiative, a secret British information warfare operation.

Still, RT’s divisions are getting used to facing obstacles. Last month, the company behind RT’s video agency Ruptly and RT DE Productions GmbH, which runs the German-language website, received a notice about their accounts being closed by German Commerzbank, something the channel considers a part of a wider campaign to obstruct its work in the European country.

A week ago, YouTube issued a strike against RT’s English channel, restricting its ability to launch live broadcasts for seven days. The penalty was given over older videos that had been uploaded weeks and even months ago. The platform said that the clips, which include an interview with a renowned virologist and live broadcasts from rallies against Covid-19 restrictions, violated its policies on “medical misinformation” and “spam, deceptive practices and scams.” Similar restrictions were also imposed on RT’s German-language channel.

Also on rt.com YouTube blocks videos & hands strikes to RT’s English & German channels over alleged Covid-19 disinformation

In late March, the RT Arabic channel on YouTube, which is one of the most popular news sources in that language, was blocked entirely over copyright infringement claims by a US-based firm. The platform then said that the ban was “unintentional,” with the channel resuming its operations a few hours later.

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