Facebook has removed several pages belonging to music groups espousing white supremacist ideology following an investigation by Al Jazeera into the prevalence of such bands on the social media platform.
Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit identified more than 120 pages from mostly heavy metal groups and record labels with direct ties to white supremacy.
The pages had gained a total of more than 800,000 likes and some have been online for more than 10 years.
After sending five examples to Facebook, the platform initially removed three of the pages of such bands, adding that the two others were under review.
Later, one other page was removed.
The four removed pages of the SoldierSS of Evil, Whitelaw, Frakass and Frangar groups all violated Facebook’s policies, according to the social media giant.
However, other pages identified by Al Jazeera are still online in breach of the company’s policies on hate speech.
The news comes the same week Facebook released an internal audit that heavily criticised the company’s record on addressing civil rights and preventing hate speech.
The findings also come two weeks after more than 500 companies, including Coca-Cola and Starbucks, pledged to no longer advertise on Facebook as long as it does not take concrete steps to block hate speech amid a national and international reckoning over racism following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, at the hands of white police in the United States.
Anti-semitic lyrics and swastikas
Al Jazeera discovered the majority of the pages have been online for years, with many actively posting news on upcoming performances, music releases and advertising for merchandise, sometimes using white supremacist imagery.
One of the more popular pages belongs to M8l8th, a black metal music act from Ukraine, whose full name means Hitler’s Hammer.
The two 8s refer to the letter H, the eighth letter in the alphabet.
Both 88 and the double H are common shorthand in neo-Nazi circles for Heil Hitler.
In its songs, M8l8th uses parts of a speech by Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels and the Horst Wessel-Lied, the official anthem of the Nazi Party from 1930 to 1945.