Facebook has backtracked on a decision to remove a post by Britain First mocking the Islamic State, saying it was a "mistake" and that it "sincerely apologised".
The social networking site removed a post showing what was intended to be the Islamic State flag reproduced as toilet roll that was uploaded by Britain First leader Paul Golding. It was captioned: "Soon to be stocked in the Britain First shop."
However, yesterday afternoon Facebook changed its mind.
In a message to Golding it wrote: "A member of our team accidentally removed something you posted on Facebook. This was a mistake and we sincerely apologise for this error.
"We've since restored the content and you should now be able to see it."
A Facebook spokesperson told the Huffington Post UK:“We made a mistake by incorrectly identifying this post as supporting ISIS. After review, we realised that the post was mocking the terrorist group, and it has therefore been restored.”
A source said Facebook do not allow users to promote or support terrorist groups on the site but it does let people share content condemning, challenging or raising awareness of terrorist groups and their practices, which includes humour, satire or social commentary.
After being notified that the post had been taken down Golding wrote to Facebook's chat support asking why.
Facebook support worker Dora Zganjer replied: "Obviously it was not complying with Facebook community standards."
She continued: "I understand where you're coming from, but posts like this will be taken down without a doubt."
Golding again pressed her on the censorship, asking "why... so you're not allowed to poke for at Isis?"
Zganjer: But in regards to your post, I understand you want to express your opinion but please do understand that Facebook is trying to treat everyone the same."
Golding continued: "Even ISIL?"
Zganjer: "I know it doesn't make sense when it comes to ISIL but those are the policy standards of the company."
Golding: "So just to reiterate, we are not allowed to poke fun at ISIL?"
The chat support worker reiterates that the same standards are applied to everyone.
Golding continues to ask why, but this time Zganjer appears to sympathise a little, saying: "I know it doesn't make sense when it comes to ISIL, but these are the policy standards of the company."
Golding concludes, "so no more anti-ISIL posts?"
This time Zganjer offers some advice: "I believe you can share posts about ISIL, just try to tone down the sarcasm." She ends her message with a smiley face.
Writing on the Britain First website Golding on Tuesday expressed his disbelief over his post being removed.
"The question we have for Facebook: Is this some kind of wind-up? Or is your “Community Standards” department based in Raqqa?"
Golding points out that while Facebook was "busy protecting the good reputation of Islamic State", simple searches on the networking site can turn up significant amounts of offensive content.
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