Facebook has deleted the page of well-known far-right provocateur, Rowan Croft. Also known as Grand Torino, the company removed his page of the same name in recent days. Croft himself revealed the news during a livestream. The Dublin man has become a leading figure in the far-right online ecosphere over the last few years.
He’s used his platform to promote the QAnon and “Great Replacement” conspiracy theories as well as various far-right talking points.
Speaking during a livestream he posted to his personal profile, Croft explained that Facebook deleted his Grand Torino page as well as the associated Instagram page.
At one point in the livestream he mentioned so-called “adverse reactions” to the COVID-19 vaccination, claiming that it’s evidence that “the war is beginning”. He also declared that world leaders are engaged in paedophilia and “are beholden to satan”. In reference to COVID-19 vaccinations, Croft went on to accuse these same leaders of “pushing on the mark of the beast to the rest of humanity” and that the vaccination boosters are “the kill shots”.
The Beacon contacted Facebook and a spokesperson confirmed that the platform deleted Croft’s page “for violating our policies”.
They went on to say they “don’t tolerate, hate speech or threats of violence against people on Facebook or Instagram”. Facebook also argued that they “remove this content as soon as we become aware of it, and take down Pages and Accounts that repeatedly violate these policies”. Going on, they pointed out that they’re “investing heavily in tools and technology” that’ll allow them to more rapidly identify and remove such content. And although “we have more to do”, Facebook’s spokesperson said they’re “removing more and more harmful content before anyone sees it and reports it to us”.
This isn’t the first time that Croft has clashed with Facebook.
Earlier this year he used his Facebook page to argue that politicians in support of the COVID-19 vaccine should be “hung by the neck”. During the same livestream he suggested that people should attack vaccination centres. Facebook eventually removed the video in question, saying “It’s against our rules to call for violence and spread harmful misinformation about Covid-19 and vaccines on our platforms”.
In spite of this Croft’s Grand Torino page remained online until this week. His personal profile also remains online from where he’s begun linking to his livestreams.
Not tackling the problem
Activists and civil society groups have consistently criticised Facebook for allowing hate speech and misinformation to be continually posted on the platform. This year the Health Service Executive (HSE) reported a number of posts and comments to Facebook for spreading false information about COVID-19. But, as The Beacon, discovered, many of them remain online.
Far-right agitator Graham Carey also used the platform in recent months to post a video declaring “We need to wipe the Jews out”. The company eventually took down the video in question. But Carey’s profile remains online and active.
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, who worked in the company’s civic integrity unit, has drawn further attention to problems with the social media giant. In testimony she gave in front of the US Senate, Haugen revealed the company is misdirecting its resources and is unable to deal with misinformation. She told the gathered politicians that the company can only remove “10 to 20 percent” of misinformation at the moment.
She also argued that “Facebook will continue to make choices that go against the common good” unless governments regulate it.
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