Facebook is removing ads from President Trump’s reelection campaign for featuring a red inverted triangle—a symbol once used by the Nazis to label prisoners at concentration camps.
On Wednesday, the Trump campaign began displaying the ads, which encourage Facebook users to take a stand with Trump against Antifa groups. “Dangerous MOBS of far-left groups are running through our streets and causing absolute mayhem,” the ads say in apparent reference to the looting during the George Floyd protests.
However, a Jewish advocacy group noticed the use of the red triangle and its historical connection to Nazi Germany. “The President of the United States is campaigning for reelection using a Nazi concentration camp symbol,” tweeted Bend the Arc.
The red triangle was specifically used as an identification badge for political prisoners, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. People who wore them included communists, social democrats, and other alleged political spies.
The symbol’s use prompted Facebook on Thursday to remove the ads for violating its policy against organized hate. “Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group’s symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol,” the company said in a statement.
However, the Trump campaign is defending the advertisements. “The inverted red triangle is a symbol used by Antifa, so it was included in an ad about Antifa,” Tim Murtaugh, the campaign’s director of communications said in an email, which included links to Antifa merchandise featuring the red triangle. (Other critics disagree, and say Antifa groups have never widely used the red triangle symbol.)
“We would note that Facebook still has an inverted red triangle emoji in use, which looks exactly the same, so it’s curious that they would target only this ad,” Murtaugh added.
Still, Jewish advocacy groups are demanding the campaign stop using the symbol. “The Nazis used red triangles to identify their political victims in concentration camps. Using it to attack political opponents is highly offensive,” tweeted Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League. “@POTUS’ campaign needs to learn its history, as ignorance is no excuse for using Nazi-related symbols.”
The Trump campaign has also been displaying the same Antifa-focused ads with different symbols, including the stop sign. The ads have all been designed to potentially reach over a million users.