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Human Rights Commission to investigate racist Aboriginal memes Facebook page

The Australian Human Rights Commission has launched an investigation into a Facebook page dedicated to to racist memes about Aboriginal people.

The page has attracted thousands of complaints over the last 24 hours. However, Facebook has so far refused to remove it or to comment on its stance.

The page, entitled “Controversial Humor Aboriginal memes” had gained 4,477 fans since being started in June. There are now petitions on Facebook, on Change.org and on other social media activist sites requesting the page be removed. The petition on change.org is urging Facebook users to report the offensive page to the website.

SBS reported that it believes the page is owned by a 16-year-old Perth schoolboy.

As well as the racist content, the site is even more offensive to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people because of the use of images of people who may be deceased.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority told Mumbrella it had received a complaint and was investigating it.

The statement from ACMA:

“The ACMA is currently investigating specific online content noted below (after receiving complaints yesterday and today).

“The ACMA investigates online content at specific URLs upon receipt of valid complaints from Australian residents or a body corporate that carries on activities in Australia. Investigations are conducted using powers under schedule 7 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.

“As part of the ACMA’s investigation, the content is being formally submitted today to the Classification Board for classification.”

Mumbrella understands that the page is also being investigated by the Australian Humans Rights Commission’s Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Helen Szoke. The Human Rights Commission is responsible for investigating alleged infringements of Australia’s anti-discrimination legislation.

Facebook’s own terms of use state that “Facebook does not permit hate speech. While we encourage you to challenge ideas, institutions, events, and practices, it is a serious violation to attack a person based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition.”

Earlier this year Facebook suffered a backlash after it blocked the accounts of women who posted photographs of themselves breastfeeding.

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