A blog post attacking a victim of white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, VA over the weekend was shared more than 65,000 times on Facebook — but those posts are disappearing. The company said today that links to the post on the Daily Stormer website violated its community standards and would be removed automatically unless the post included a caption condemning the article or the publication, a haven for Nazis and white supremacists.
The blog post offered a series of personal attacks against Heather Heyer, who died Saturday after she was struck by a car while protesting a gathering of white supremacists. The driver, James Alex Fields Jr., is being held on charges including second-degree murder; 19 other people were injured in the attack.
Any shares of the Daily Stormer article that don’t include a caption will be deleted, Facebook said. The company’s community operations team reviews posts with captions to determine their context, and will remove them if they do not condemn the post or the domain, Facebook said.
Facebook’s move came on the same day that the Daily Stormer lost its web host and its YouTube channel over similar terms of service violations. The step to remove all shares of an article, while unusual, is not unprecedented, the company said. Still, for a company that has taken pains to avoid making editorial judgments about the articles shared on its platform, the nearly wholesale removal of a viral post marked a noteworthy step against the spread of white supremacist propaganda on the network.