EDMONTON—An Edmonton man’s Facebook page was unpublished this week, and while the social media giant didn’t confirm the exact reason why, the move comes days after posts questioned the mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Tyson (Ty) Hunt, who founded the group Ty’s Canadian Infidels, said the page was shut down Tuesday.
“All I got so far is that it was questioning whether the mosque incident was fake or not,” he said. “I didn’t see a problem with putting that up there.”
Facebook confirmed that the page was removed after repeated violations of its community standards. Specifically, those standards prohibit extremist content and organized hate groups on the platform.
“We do not tolerate harassment on Facebook and it’s our aim to prevent any potential real world harm that may be related to content on our platform,” a Facebook spokesperson said in an email statement to Star Edmonton. “That’s why we remove content, disable accounts, and use a combination of technology, reports from our community, and human review to enforce our policies.”
“I heard it was a seven-day Facebook jail type thing,” he added.
Also the Alberta chapter leader of a group called The Clann, which attracted police attention in February after approaching worshippers at Al Rashid Mosque in north Edmonton, Hunt said this isn’t the first time he has run afoul of Facebook’s community standards.
He has already got a backup page up and running that he said will host the same sort of content.
“This wouldn’t be the first time I’ve had to change pages,” he added. “Everybody knows I was (with) Soldiers of Odin, Wolves of Odin. I had pages. They went down.”
The Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies in Vancouver identifies the Wolves of Odin, Soldiers of Odin, and Canadian Infidels as right-wing extremist groups.
While Hunt insists that the content is not Islamophobic, noting that he doesn’t believe in an irrational fear of Muslims, personal posts published on his own Facebook page read, “Make islamophia (sic) great again!” and “Keep Islamophobia alive,” which, he maintains — like the posts he believes got the group shut down — are not hate speech, but intended to stimulate conversation.
“The loss of life is tragic, but what happens in New Zealand … It’s too far for me to say that the media is really telling me the truth.”
According to Facebook, 2.9 million hate speech posts were removed in the third quarter of 2018.
Hamdi Issawi is an Edmonton-based reporter covering the environment and energy. Follow him on Twitter: @hamdiissawi