Facebook: A Breeding Ground For Racism


Facebook breeding ground

In the past twelve months racist attacks in Northern Ireland have increased by 50%.

In the early hours of Sunday morning yet another home was attacked in South Belfast – an attack that the PSNI described as a ‘hate crime’.

A bottle was thrown and smashed the living room window of a house owned by a Bangladeshi family on Ulsterville Avenue and a car owned by a Kuwaiti family was set alight.

The attacks have been widely condemned by politicians from across the political spectrum.

In the early hours of this morning yet another property was attacked in North Belfast.

Where do the attitudes that provoke these hate crimes originate and why are racist attitudes seemingly on the increase?

A few hours before the latest attack a Facebook user in South Belfast posted this video:

The video has been viewed more than 10,000 times and numerous comments have been posted in support of the man responsible.

Aaron mix

The Facebook user subsequently attempted to defend his actions seemingly oblivious to the fact that – regardless of the circumstances – verbally and racially abusing a fellow human being in broad daylight would be regarded by most as unacceptable.

The true nature of his motivations are perhaps best summed up by one of his own comments on the original video thread.

Aaron main

On Saturday 4th October Shankill Leisure Centre permitted the use of a hall to celebrate Eid al-Adha, one of the most important festivals in the Islamic calendar.

The loyalist Facebook page Protestant Unionist Loyalist News TV picked up on the news with predictable results:


A torrent of racist commentary followed the original post – all unchallenged by the administrators of the page.


An even more sinister Facebook page has seen significant growth in recent days.

Islam banner

The subtly named N.I. Resistance Against Islam so far has 735 followers and users have posted a selection of choice comments.

Islam Mix

Stung by criticism the page administrators have banned anyone who dares to challenge their racist mindset and have set up a secret group where  the select few who share their warped views can interact in private (the administrators of the page are visible on some browsers – the ‘secret’ page  is not now searchable on Facebook)


NI Resistance Closed Group

In all cases the posts and pages responsible have been reported to Facebook and complainants have received the stock response that such activity does not contravene “community standards.”

Facebook does not permit hate speech, but distinguishes between serious and humorous speech. While we encourage you to challenge ideas, institutions, events, and practices, we do not permit individuals or groups to attack others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition”.

However Facebook adds the caveat that “because of the diversity of our community, it’s possible that something could be disagreeable or disturbing to you without meeting the criteria for being removed or blocked”.


So in effect Facebook and not civil society is the final arbiter of what is or is not ‘hate speech’.

In a society that is already riddled with sectarianism and where there is clear evidence that Facebook has been used to stir up sectarian tension in the past, is it not incumbent on the organisation to act swiftly and remove posts that would be viewed as ‘hate speech’ in every day society?

There are those that would argue that such action would be a form of censorship and an attack on free speech but surely social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter have a social responsibility to prevent the spread of dangerous views that can lead to attacks such as this in August 2014?

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  • BarrelOfPorter

    US case law would suggest otherwise, and that’s probably their yardstick.

  • Benno Celt

    Fbook are completely useless

  • Michael Henry

    Racists and Loyalists are now spoken of in the same breath- they don’t like anyone and hate themselves but they make a excuse to people that they just hate that black person up the road etc- it’s not Big PR for them to say in public that they still hate Catholics- so they have a new enemy to fill the void-

  • Jurassic Parke

    The irony is killing me

  • It is politically possible to put a stop to refugees coming over if you’re into that.

    It would require leaving the EU and then withdrawing from the UN Convention on Human Rights thereby making the Refugee Convention element of that null and void – this is it here http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49da0e466.html

    There’s a peaceful way out of this, no need to resort brick throwing and scaring people.

    Just write to your MP and say you want out of the UN Convention on Human Rights. See what you get back.

    Although with only ‘735 followers’ they are good ten million or so short of effecting the kind of change they’d like to see.

    Also if the UK left the UN Convention on Human Rights and the Refugee Convention it would be able to tell all those gathered in Nord Pas de Calais to bog off as there no hope getting to London now that we the UK people have left the Convention.

    Stay in France.

    Another problem solved!

    Kent would be relieved and the sore sorry saga of Kent versus Nord Pas de Calais would be over.

  • I actually find twitter much much worse, at least with facebook you get the real names coming out and giving it stacks and they give the debate some real oomph and I like that, these guys make a mockery of LAD and the twitter fakers, as they are prepared to fall on their sword and they don’t care and these sort of people actually have real impact in their community. On the LAD site which posted this video, the guy they tried to rip the bag out of as a racist all his friends and family came on and supported him, using their real names.

    Compare that with the creepy weasels running LAD, who we know nothing about and if they did use their real names they would probably act differently and would come out on street and into the public domain and in doing so would actually effect more change that way, but they are scared of real life people – who they call bullies, that’s just real life, street life. Lift some weights and eat protein if you are weak and come out and stand up for yourself and make change happen than, be all cowardly.

    If you don’t the real people with real names run the show.

  • carl marks

    its nice to see that grand old loyalist/racist tradition of ignoring the crime and shooting the messenger is still with us.
    the man in the video is a vile racist how you can in any way compare to the people behind lad is really funny.

  • carl marks

    what irony would that be then?

  • Kate Nicholl

    I work for Anna Lo & we didn’t have much/any success reporting the racist Facebook comments about her, so we resorted to reporting anything obviously offensive to the PSNI – who have been really good. Facebook should have done more, but the blame still lies with the person who writes the racist comments in the first place. In the wake of the numerous racist attacks over the summer, I was probably most surprised by the failure of the general media and other politicians to link racism with sectarianism – they really are two sides of the same coin and that’s never stressed enough. Interestingly, Anna also received a few email apologies from people who had joined in on the Facebook abuse directed at her – saying they hadn’t realised how offensive they were being, which sounds ridiculous, but they did appear to be genuinely sorry. Anna, who is a bigger person than most (in character!!), responded to say we all do or speak things we regret at times – this is especially true in social media. Facebook is a breeding ground for instantaneous and ill-thought out comments on so many subjects, you can say what you like with no fear of the consequences, and that needs to change. Until then, blog posts like this are great for highlighting that this *is* a problem and hopefully more people will report anything they believe to be grossly offensive to the PSNI – or if they prefer to their MLA, who can pass it on for investigation.

  • Neil

    Interestingly, Anna also received a few email apologies from people who had joined in on the Facebook abuse directed at her – saying they hadn’t realised how offensive they were being, which sounds ridiculous, but they did appear to be genuinely sorry

    Unfortunately I suspect their apologies have more to do with CPS guidelines on commenting on social media which have been updated to say that you are less likely to face prosecution if you show remorse.

    They aren’t sorry they just know that if they get the apology in before the PSNI come knocking they might get away with it. Most people aren’t racist one day and not racist the next.

  • Morpheus

    Did Mr and Mrs Trending on Twitter teach you all about using real names?

  • Kate Nicholl

    That’s very true – and was certainly the case for some apologies received! I was referring to a couple of emails that came before the investigation had started and I assume were in response to Anna’s press release. I made the point about these apologies to highlight that the very instant nature of Facebook results in many people making ill-founded comments, not solely restricted to ethnicity. But also because on some level I feel that there are those who discriminate with the intent to hurt – and then there are those who are ignorant and perhaps don’t see that what they say is offensive. I’m not entirely sure how to articulate it – and I definitely don’t want to make excuses – but there seems to be differences in some peoples intellectual understanding of their prejudice, and I just wonder if that counts for anything?

  • I use my real name on twitter and facebook unlike you on twitter.

  • Neil

    On the LAD site which posted this video, the guy they tried to rip the bag out of as a racist all his friends and family came on and supported him, using their real names.

    Now I saw the post and the bag ripping primarily came from the big man himself, in the video. He was being racist, and he was doing so on a platform that is not private. Sadly people have to live with the consequences of their actions. His action was giving verbal abuse to a woman and then choosing to post a video of the incident on the web. That’s on the racist. No one but him.

    Compare that with the creepy weasels running LAD, who we know nothing about and if they did use their real names they would probably act differently

    Would they act differently? Do you mean after they had been severely beaten by Loyalist paramilitaries or do you mean in terms of exposing the real things that real people post on the web for all the world to see?

    but they are scared of real life people – who they call bullies, that’s just real life, street life. Lift some weights and eat protein if you are weak and come out and stand up for yourself and make change happen than, be all cowardly.
    Do you not realise how that sounds?
    “Don’t you dare criticise completely unacceptable behaviour, or point out lies being desseminated with the direct intention of raising dangerously high tensions already unless you can physically defend yourself from violence”.
    I assume you allow slightly built women to express opinions? Or do you demand they hit karate lessons and lift weights before calling unacceptable behaviour out?

  • Morpheus

    Yes I do – you think my friends and family call me Morpheus? Do you think that’s me in that image to the left? I don’t even have a leather jacket


  • mac tire

    Hmmm, no condemnation of the vile racist behaviour by ITOT. Instead, we get a distraction such as people not using real names and why don’t make you yourself tougher (do you miss Johnny Adair?). You forgot to mention steroids when you mentioned lifting weights and eating protein.

  • carl marks

    is there any why we can keep the hard working immigrants and get rid of the lazy foul bigots! surely that would be the better deal?

  • Guest

    Yeah I bet Mohammed Idris and his wife are all hard working and not on benefits.

    Funny how refugees and escapees from some hell hole always manage to bring with them a wife and kids, the other family from Sudan I notice had a kid and another one on the way the wife is expecting, kids I imagine a prerequisite to a successful asylum outcome, add in the bonus of then qualifying for child benefit x 1 then x 2 then x 3. The rest of us are out working and from my office in south Belfast I see ethnic minority women out with their kids in the morning and I wonder it’s as well for them while I am stuck in my office working to the pay utility bills without the freedom of someone else paying that stuff for me so as I could be out walking, looking after taxpayer funded children during the day.

    Also, when white people traditionally set up in foreign shores they are looked upon pejoratively as white settlers but when black and brown people come over they are automatically deemed really nice people much more wholesome, better than the locals for not being so bitter and so on, even though the bitter locals havent tasted equality themselves in decades and aren’t likely to any time soon. But best not label decent black refugees or for instance well established black and Asian communities as settlers, despite the fact much of Britain now resembling some sort of Asian colony, the UK parts of which are now governed according to religious laws played out in the middle east! All perfectly legal, open door, come on in, colonisation of Britain except it’s under another name called multiculturalism. And not a drop of blood spilt.

    How about this, through the traditional nationalist looking glass, what is being played out on the streets of south and east Belfast is white Protestant settlers having a good fall out with the black settlers, the catholic natives dislike and have hated protestant settlers in contrast catholic natives seem to like the minority black settlers more, they are people worth keeping over white protestant settlers for some reason.

  • mac tire

    Settle down!

  • carl marks

    wow, somebody just proved my case for me,
    a heady mix of mopery, racism and its sister sectarianism, and i love the way he/she tries to make it a protestant thing.(its a pity that most protestants regard your views as disgusting bloody lundys they are)
    but of course the problem here is not the racist bully picking on women it those bloody Fenian s and liberals.
    glad we got that cleared up.

  • Mister_Joe

    It really is weird. Most people everywhere in the world are immigrants or descendents of immigrants even if the initial immigration took part hundreds or thousands of years ago. A few years ago, a racist in my small Canadian town who publishes a free “newspaper” complained that he felt a stranger in his own land because of the immigration of people of a slightly darker hue. I wrote to him and asked him when he had last discussed the matter with the original occupants of our land who came here 10 to 14 thousand years ago. He declined to publish my letter, of course, and didn’t bother to reply to me. Hypocrisy at large.

  • So, you can be a racist f*ckwit provided you use your real name. Glad we cleared that up.

  • Say no to suicide

    Aye, how dare those nasty “racists” demand their right to their own homeland to be upheld. They should just do what the useless neoliberal governments say and simply allow it for anyone and everyone. Bend over and welcome the hoardes of millions of your new third world overlords!

    Thank God my house isn’t on fire. No doubt this fireman would be happy for me to commit my own suicide and would condemn any attempt to put out the fire.

  • Sorry I would have liked to have taken apart your above comment in relation to the fckwit by responding with a few choice swearwords myself, but I am being censored and prevented from doing so. As one must behave like a thoroughly decent chap on here otherwise get banned or deleted. Extremely disappointing.

  • I don’t know why anyone thinks the political decision of permitting poverty migration from eastern Europe directly connected to EU free movement is a clever thing to bring about on the traditional working class community and areas?

    Then there is the Convention on Human Rights and the Rights of Refugees, which arguably was put in place to deal with post Hitlerian Europe it is not designed for a globalised world where ethnic minorities from right across the globe can now easily reach London and use it to gain residence, because given the nature of conflicts throughout the world there must be millions of people who technically qualify, if not tens of millions, who if they could all make it to London in one go would probably technically qualify to reside thereby replacing native communities. It needs to become more restrictive.

    The impact from EU open borders and EU Convention on Human Rights and Convention Refugees is a bit like the impact of economies of scale where multimillion mass migration to Britain in time brings down the host community. If you look at the world the white people are the minority on the globe, therefore if you have in place a funnel through which black and asian and poverty migrants can qualify to enter and reside in your ‘relatively wealthy white minority community’, over time, given the amount of black and asian people throughout the world will see to it that the host community is replaced, due to the sheer scale of blacks and asians caught up in s hit holes looking out of their failed states.

    The only tough part is making it to Britain which is not so tough nowadays thanks to cheap transport and lots of flights.

    The Australians have the right approach, remember Australia was never affected by Hitlerian racist policies so they have no European guilt complex like Germany, Australia just diverts the boats away from the country or says to neighbouring countries here these guys have landed up on our shores, we are moving them on to your shores – shores such as Papua New Guinea.

    Safety having been secured still the refugees complain and clearly get found out for not being refugees at all, but actually economic migrants due to the amount of stink they kick up about how unsuitable Papua New Guinea is for them! Well. Oh dear. Sure aren’t you at least safe from persecution?


  • carl marks

    “Demand their right to their own homeland” what does that mean are you claiming that attacking women in the street is part of a campaign for a republic of East Belfast. And how are immigrants taking away your “Homeland” and “Third world overlords” that has to be the stupidest thing I have ever heard.

    Where the hell do racists get these crazy notions from? Who feeds them this grade A BS, it’s about time the politicians and community leaders inside unionism done something about this nonsense.

  • carl marks

    Which native London community do you think will be replaced, the Scots, Irish, Jewish, Dutch, polish, Bangladesh, American, Jamaican, French you see the truth of the matter is that London has always been a melting pot and that is the things that make it like New York a great city.

  • It is now time for corrective political action to fix the bits of neoliberalism that no longer cut it for the host community this was all well and good back in the day, but there is a strong undercurrent out there saying it’s time to fix this and put a stop to economically and socially neoliberal policies that destabilise and disrupt the host community.

    Look at this just look at this – http://rt.com/news/194060-germany-kurds-muslims-brawls/

    The activities of migrant communities in Germany as highlighted in that link proves what a complete failure some people have had with integrating into the host community.

    This has come about from the Human Rights-led colonisation of Germany where traditional German values are being ignored and not taken up by the migrant communities, instead traditional enmities of foreign nationals are being imported and stood up for, replacing the German ones, as human rights law means these people can practice their traditional beliefs and behaviours. Sadly they cannot be deported once they get on stupid and behave in a way the host community disproves of – once in they can’t be kicked out.

    The only way for proper strategic integration of diverse identities and ethnicities within Germany and the UK for that matter is to leave the UN Convention on Human Rights and the EU and enforce traditional host community values on migrant communities living in the country such as no more mosques and Burqas etc – and what if that isn’t your thing?

    Then leave and stop treating our host countries like a cash machine for you to take money out of but fail to respect the British or for that matter German way of life, etc.

  • carl marks

    I don’t think that attacking women because of their color is very British nor poring petrol through letter boxes is very British either so perhaps my earlier suggestion re; getting rid of the lazy foul bigots is on the mark, after all they are showing scant respect for the British or the British way of life!

  • mac tire

    In sincerity I agree ITOT. Not useful language. It detracts from the point. But yet again you have avoided the central point John has made (as you have with the original article). Is this how you actually debate a point?
    To be disappointed that the rules demanded by Slugger that you should be decent speaks volumes.
    I’m almost sure I have come across this person before. Let me think…

  • mac tire

    “Daz doorstep challenge” “Bitch”. Eh? This is it guys, this is the real face of Loyalism here. Turn your face away all you want – but there it is.

    If people were hanging around your bins – they might be hungry. Know what that feels like? Do you know what you would do, personally, when hunger sets in? Go away, for God’s sake. And I wager that you’ll probably call yourself a Christian.

    I’m sure you had faith in the RUC, then. Quite comfortable, wasn’t it? Gone – forever, thankfully. The people spoke.
    Silly you, you forgot to squeeze your usual religious context in there.

    Funny you could not answer the post before last because
    “by responding with a few choice swearwords myself, but I am being censored and prevented from doing so.”
    you were able to get through with some there.

  • PeterOHanrahanrahan

    Bloody darkies, and their ludicrous foreign practice of being “out with their kids”!

  • Ciaran Gallagher

    I wonder what their employers (if any) would think of those kinds of comments…

  • carl marks

    yes and they ignore our local customs, i mean when did you ever see one building a bonfire,they sit in at night and do homework!
    its not are kulture an wee don want it here!