As we continue to monitor hate and disinformation across Europe, looking for signs of a narrative cross-over between the current refugee crisis and the Covid-19 outbreak, we identified a disturbing post from the UK’s Brexit Party, originating from their local Facebook page based in Epping Forest. The page was previously UKIP Epping Forest.
The post, which has been shared 35 times , received 108 likes, and has been replied to 28 times read: “Another container load of terrorists, religious fanatics, coronavirus, measles, aids and scarlet fever arrived for us to pay for! Shipping container full of people needing urgent medical treatment found at dock in Hull. Sorry, we are being taken for MUGS!”
It featured the link to this article from the Daily Express, which makes no mention of terrorism, religion, or any diseases.
The public comments on the post, captured in the below screenshots come from personal accounts showing no traditional warning signs of being artificial or inauthentic.
The messages are deeply disturbing:
“not long now before people take this into their own hands”
“Just put it in the water. It might sink and wash them or it might sail away either way it’s for the best”
” Never the right container that gets lost overboard!”
“Leave them in it and let it flow out to sea”
” Shoot them or save bullets and just gas the cu[nts]”
The post and the replies have been reported to Facebook.
The screenshots of the public comments follow without further comment.
Facebook replied to the report regarding the offensive and clearly inflammatory material stating they would take no action as the post and replies did not breach community guidelines. We have requested a review as the material is clearly identifiable as hate speech which is a breach of the platform guidelines.
Facebook’s review team have declined to take any action, stating they do not consider this to be hate speech and that their view is informed by experts.