Facebook takes down large blackface Zwarte Piet groups, pages
Facebook removed the largest groups and pages supporting blackface Sinterklaas character Zwarte Piet from its platform, NU.nl reports based on its own research. The social media platform banned images and videos of people in blackface a few weeks ago. The removed Zwarte Piet pages had tens of thousands of followers.
Among the removed pages and groups were 'Zwarte Piet liefhebbers' with over 52 thousand likes, 'Actiegroep Pro Zwarte Piet' with 44,600 likes, 'Red Zwarte Piet' with 30 thousand likes, 'De Zwarte Piet fanclub' with 10 thousand members, and 'ZWARTE PIEIT MOET BLIJVEN' with 5.4 thousand members.
Some Zwarte Piet groups and pages are still online, most of which have a few dozen or hundred followers. One group, 'Pro Zwarte Piet' with 17,300 members, also still exists. Though the group has been made private so that only members can see the content. A person in blackface is still the group's profile pic.
Even though Facebook banned blackface on its platform, images and videos must first be reported before Facebook intervenes. A Facebook spokesperson told NU.nl that the goal is to "eventually use artificial intelligence for the blackface policy, as we already do a lot for other house rules." The platform is still working out how to do so. "The danger is that you remove too much and then freedom of expression is compromised."