This week, Facebook specified its ban on hate speech relating to race and ethnicity, adding photos depicting blackface (the portrayal of a black person with the use of black face paint) to its banned list, along with other harmful racial stereotypes, particularly about Jewish people.
The rule, which also applies to Instagram will target photos depicting “caricatures of black people in the form of blackface” as well as, potentially, English morris dancers who have painted their face black and portrayals of The Netherlands’ Black Pete character, who is essentially Santa’s sidekick in the European country’s Christmas tradition.
Monika Bickert, Facebook’s content policy chief, stated, “This type of content has always gone against the spirit of our hate-speech policies, but it can be really difficult to take concepts… and define them in a way that allows our content reviewers based around the world to consistently and fairly identify violations,” reports the BBC.
However, it is likely that examples of blackface – particularly ones that draw attention to, or calling out, a politician or public figure wearing blackface – might still be allowed.
Blackface is a hugely damaging and offensive, yet all too common, method of stereotyping and racially abusing black people, and this specific ban is a welcomed one.