• Blayke Tatafu took to Twitter to protest Facebook's decision to and him for his post in support of changing the date of Australia Day. (Supplied)
Multiple users have reported Facebook has banned posts about Indigenous reconciliation and changing the date of Australia Day after others complained such posts and images were 'racist' and 'spam'.
By
Robert Burton-Bradley

29 Jan 2018 - 3:11 PM  UPDATED 29 Jan 2018 - 3:56 PM

When Indigenous mental health worker Blayke Tatafu changed his Facebook profile picture to add a sticker supporting changing of the date of Australia Day, he was not expecting to be accused of racism.

However, that's exactly what happened; with Facebook deciding to ban him from the platform for three days as punishment.

"I've been banned from Facebook for three days for my profile picture, with claims of "racism". The only change was the addition of the sticker in the bottom right of the photo," he wrote on Twitter afterwards.

He is one of several people whom NITV have spoken to after being banned or had their January 26 related content deleted by Facebook over claims it is in breach of their terms of use.

"I think the message of how Aboriginal Australia [feels] on the 26th and [show] resistance, and how some other Australians see it is important and definitely relevant," he told NITV News.

Facebook has long been criticised for its complaints process. Many argue the company is censoring posts unfairly, with some saying the platform appears to protect white men over black people.

Earlier this year, African American woman made a joke on Twitter and Facebook referencing chain Cracker Barrel's troubles with racism and received hundreds of abusive and racist comments.

After spending days reporting the abuse, she started posting screenshots of the worst attacks. Twitter responded by deleting abusive tweets and closing offending accounts. Facebook responded by banning her after some of the screenshots she posted included the email addresses of her abusers, a violation of their terms of use. The company later reinstated her account claiming it made a "mistake". A number of others have had similar bans enacted then withdrawn after being targeted by racists.

Facebook has also come under fire for its lack of cultural awareness after it banned Indigenous activist Celeste Liddle in 2016 after she posted an image which showed two Aboriginal women bare-chested engaged in a cultural ceremony.

Native Americans were unfairly targeted when Facebook changed its policy demanding users use their real name on their accounts. While pop artist Katy Perry was able to create an account called Left Shark, Native Americans with names like Lone Hill were forced to provide multiple forms of identity and jump through many hoops to prove their names were real.

Many people are not even aware there is an issue until after Facebook has made the decision to remove content or ban a user.

This was the experience of Helena Mesarovic, who posted a cover photo last week in the lead up to Australia Day that simply said #respect #AlwaysWillBe.

Helena told NITV News she was shocked when she received a notification her picture had been declared spam by Facebook administrators.

"My cover picture been removed by admins according to Community Standards its considered as a SPAM!," she said.

"I put that cover photo as a support, especially after l'd watched the morning show on Australia Day on NITV.

"I didn't know that as a human being and [by] having empathy towards other nation's history and people with different nationalities, l am violating some standards."

Helena said she was baffled by the decision and was horrified she was being marked as someone who was posting spam.

"I don't like to be marked as someone who's violating anything nor anyone, especially because l don't have Indigenous heritage. But l do have [a] heart and [a] sense for people's suffering. For God sake is [it] that hard to be human these days?"

Facebook has been approached for comment but had not responded at the time of publication.