Facebook takes down anti-Semitic group's page after flyer outrage

The flyers were distributed in Sydney and Double Bay. (Supplied)

Facebook has taken down the page of a white-power group responsible for anti-Semitic flyers distributed in Sydney after members of the public petitioned the social media site to act.

Outraged members of the public have successfully campaigned for the Facebook page of white-power group Squadron 88 to be removed after the group caused outrage by distributing anti-Semitic flyers in Sydney.

Sydney resident Josh Grimm first heard about the flyers after reading an SBS report on the issue this week.

He found the group responsible for the flyers, Squadron 88, on Facebook, and was horrified.

'When I saw the sort of material being posted on the Facebook page and that they had around 270 'likes', I felt offended that their strong opposition to homosexuality, cultural and racial diversity and a particular hatred for the Jewish community was able to be pushed on to young impressionable minds over the social network," he told SBS.

The 23-year-old accountant reported the group's page for promoting hate speech.

Friend Stefania Kubowicz did the same.

She said the page was "rife with hatred and ignorance" and contained disturbing material.

"It was calling for physical violence and it was calling for people who had military training," she said, adding that it was not clear what such training would be used for.

"It was directing people towad cultural awareness pages and implying that people should troll those other pages."

But despite the complaints, Facebook refused to take the page down.

"Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our community standards," the website responded. 'We reviewed the page you reported for containing hate speech or symbols and found it doesn't violate our community standards."

Mr Grimm said he wasn't surprised.

"I expected they wouldn't. I knew from stories I had heard from friends, online and on the news that Facebook's Community Standards are controversial and they very rarely take down pages that are actually offensive."

Both he and Ms Kubowicz encouraged more friends got on board and complain to Facebook about the page.

As of yesterday (Wednesday) evening, it had been taken down.

A spokesperson for Facebook today confirmed to SBS that the page had been removed for promoting hate speech and violating the site's community standards.

Ms Kubowicz said she was happy the page had been taken down and proud that a small amount of people could effect change.

"I know it not a huge success because it doesn’t stop the offending but it does call it out," she said. "I think it's important to call out hatred and bigotry."

'Wake up white Australia'

The flyers, which called for action from "white Australia," were delivered to mail boxes on a predominantly Jewish street in Bondi earlier this week.

They stated that "Jews have been kicked out of countries 109 times throughout history" and called for Australians to "take a stand".

Malcolm Turnbull yesterday condemned the people behind the flyers saying their actions "gnaw away at the foundations of society".

Speaking on ABC’s AM program, Mr Turnbull said the leaflets were "despicable".

"They are racist, anti-Semitic filth. And they do not simply seek to intimidate the Jewish community. They seek to, and serve to undermine the stability and security of our whole country," he said.


"This is the most successful multicultural society in the world. Our security, our prosperity, our safety depends on it remaining that way.

"And people who think that they can pick on one ethnic group or another - and if it's the Jews in Bondi yesterday it'll be somebody else tomorrow, we know that - those people don't just intimidate those groups.

"They gnaw away at the foundations of the whole society and that's why they should always be condemned.

"We should have zero tolerance for racism. Zero tolerance for racism."

News of the leaflets has been picked up by media organisations around the world, including Russian broadcaster RT and the European Jewish Press.

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