The uproar started a couple of days ago, when a member of the European Parliament spoke out against the groups. Group names included “Useful work for gypsies: testers of gas chambers” and “Let’s burn them all,” so as reported by BusinessWeek, German politician Martin Schulz stated, “The existence of these groups is repulsive. I call upon Facebook to remove them immediately.”
Gianni Pittella, an Italian politician, and Shimon Samuels, Director for International Relations at the Wiesenthal Center, soon made similar requests.
Now Facebook’s free of the highlighted groups, and it seems to have gotten rid of them in a way that shouldn’t upset many free speech advocates. (Aside from the TOS excuse, a search for “zingari,” which Google Translate says is the Italian word for “gypsies,” reveals that some relevant groups still exist.)
We’ve seen Facebook encounter and deal with such controversies before. In August 2007, advertisements for six major corporations were shown on pages promoting the British National Party, and so the companies responded by pulling their ads. Facebook took action by allowing corporations to keep their ads away from all groups.