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Facebook hasn’t changed hate speech policy to ban anti-Biden phrase

October 21, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: Facebook has changed its hate speech policy to include posts that use the phrase “Let’s go Brandon.”

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. A tweet alleging that Facebook changed its policy on hate speech to prohibit the phrase “Let’s go Brandon” was meant to be satirical, the post’s author told The Associated Press. A Facebook spokesperson also confirmed to the AP that the company has not changed its policy to ban the slogan, which is popular among critics of President Joe Biden.

THE FACTS: A tweet shared Wednesday by conservative commentator Jeff Charles jokingly alleged that the social media company had amended its hate speech policy to ban accounts from using the phrase “Let’s go Brandon,” a meme created by opponents of Biden.

Charles told the AP that his post was satirical. His Twitter bio also states: “I spit hot satire.” However, many social media users spread the incorrect claim seemingly believing it was true. Numerous users condemned the supposed action by Facebook, arguing it infringed upon freedom of speech.

The phrase “Let’s go Brandon” refers to a meme that emerged earlier this month from a video of an interview with NASCAR driver Brandon Brown after he won an Xfinity Series race at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway.

A reporter said on air that fans behind him were chanting “Let’s go Brandon,” when video footage indicates the actual chant was “F--- Joe Biden.” Some people have suggested the reporter purposefully misinterpreted the crowd’s chant and the quote has become a catchphrase among critics of Biden.

Charles’ satirical post also included a purported quote from someone identified as “a top executive at the social media company.” The tweet, which included a typo, stated the Facebook source had said: “This while thing has gone far enough. It’s offensive and really really mean.”

A Facebook spokesperson told the AP in an email that the quote was fabricated and there is no evidence any executives used these words. The official also verified that Facebook has not changed its hate speech policy as falsely claimed.

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Associated Press writer David Klepper in Providence, Rhode Island, contributed to this report.

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This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.