, 13 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
By hiding behind the facade of a "news network," this Facebook page managed to stay active for 3 years and amassed a following of 200,000+ people — all while peddling virulent anti-Muslim hate speech and disinformation.

My latest for @NatObserver:
This investigation began with a tip from a reader, who sent an email to @NatObserver expressing concern that her relatives were essentially being indoctrinated by reading anti-Muslim content on far-right social media pages. Her cousin believed Sharia law was coming to Canada. 1/
The reader’s tip led us to the Facebook page of the "National Conservative News Network Canada", which at first glance looked like any other right-leaning political page.

(Hint: It was not just another right-leaning political page). 2/
The so-called “news network” was actually a repository for hate speech, with Muslims as the primary target. The page even gave a little shout-out to the Soldiers of Odin, an internationally-known hate group. 3/
In between political memes & links to mainstream websites were videos warning about the fictitious threat of Sharia law in Canada and posts encouraging Canada to become more Islamophobic (literally). Other posts promoted views in line with the white genocide conspiracy theory. 4/
The comments on the page were even worse than the content itself. Some of them promoted violence against Muslims; others used dehumanizing language to refer to Muslims; others talked about needing to take up arms for a coming civil war. Not once did the page admins push back. 5/
This Facebook page was allowed to peddle anti-Muslim hate speech to 200,000 followers for over 3 years. The page was finally taken down after @NatObserver inquired about it. Even then, it was restored for a short time “in error” (and then taken down again). 6/
Experts say they expect to see more pages like this as the federal election draws nearer. By hiding hate speech behind the mask of a "news network," pages can more effectively evade policies banning hate speech, while also making disinformation appear more legitimate. 7/
While Facebook took this page down, they did so three years late and only after we flagged it for them. And this page isn’t an anomaly -- even as Facebook has pledged to crack down on hate speech and extremism, anti-Muslim content still thrives on social media platforms. 8/
Knowing they can get away with it, hate groups are using social media platforms to spread propaganda & extremist content to unprecedented numbers of people. This is the link tying together so-called “lone wolves” like the Quebec Mosque shooter & Christchurch mosque shooter. 9/
There are still many others out there, but at least one hub of hate speech & disinfo is gone from Facebook. And it won’t be coming back: After removing the page a 2nd time, FB said in an email that it had disabled the page's ability to appeal the decision again in the future. 10/
A final point: This all started with a reader tip. We aren’t out there scouring social media just to find sites to take down, nor are most journalists. We did this investigation because a reader was concerned that this type of content was indoctrinating her own relatives. 11/
And on that note, if you see specific examples of disinformation, “fake news,” social media manipulation, hate speech, etc., that concerns you, drop us an email.

You can reach me at caroline@nationalobserver.com, or my colleague Emma McIntosh at emma@nationalobserver.com.
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