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Internet Rallies to Remove Facebook Page Linking People With Autism to Shootings

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The autism community is in an uproar about the fact that Facebook has yet to confirm removal of the group page “Families Against Autistic Shooters.”

Though Forbes reported the page was taken down on Sunday, it was online again on Monday morning, only to appear down again by Monday afternoon.

In a screenshot of the Facebook page, posted on the popular autism awareness blog “Ask An Aspie,” one can see that the page’s description read, “What do all shooters over the last few years have in common? A lack of empathy and compassion due to Autism!” According to Forbes, one post on the page made a remark about “the soulless, dead eyes of autistic children,” calling them “cold, calculating killing machines with no regard for human life!”

The hateful page gained attention over the weekend, after several news outlets reported the gunman who killed nine people at an Oregon community college on October 1, had attended Switzer Learning Center in Torrence, California, a school for students with “moderate to severe learning disabilities, emotional issues, attention problems, and behavioral disorders,” including autism spectrum disorder. Authorities have not confirmed that the gunman had autism.

There is currently an online petition on pushing for the permanent removal of the Facebook page, along with a handful of Facebook groups protesting the page, including “Families against the page ‘Families Against Autistic Shooters.‘”

After reporting the Facebook page for displaying hate speech, Ask An Aspie received a response from Facebook, saying the page did not violate their community standards. The full response read:

Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment. We reviewed the Page you reported for containing hate speech or symbols and found it doesn’t violate our Community Standards. Note: If you have an issue with something on the page, be sure to report the content (ex: a photo), not the entire page. That way, your report will be more accurately reviewed.

In the Community Standards section of Facebook, the social network states that it wants “people to feel safe when they use Facebook,” adding that content that attacks people based on, among other things, “serious disabilities or diseases,” will be removed.

Facebook has yet to respond to The Mighty’s request for a comment.

Originally published: October 5, 2015
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