Last week was the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landings in Normandy. With many of the survivors now in the 80s and 90s, this was likely to be the last major anniversary that those who fought on the beaches would be alive to remember. So there were plenty of photos on social media and happy stories such as the 89 year old who sneaked out of a nursing home to be there.
Unfortunately D-Day was also used a bandwagon by several far right groups. The anti-immigration British National Party (BNP), against whom I’ve campaigned in the past, were one such organisation. This is despite their waning influence on British society and recent calamitous election results leaving them with just two councillors in the whole of Britain, and with their leader Nick Griffin no longer holding his post as a member of the European Parliament.
But another less well-known group, Britain First, has also been adept at using social media with feel-good messages about those who fought the rise of fascism all of those years ago. The irony being that Britain First is, in itself, essentially a fascist organisation, as this post from Another Angry Voice explains. Britain First was recently responsible for attacks on mosques in Bradford, where they have been pushing a profoundly Islamophobic message. These groups are nasty pieces of work, but occasionally push out images that most people would find it hard to disagree with. Such images frequently get re-shared, especially those about D-Day.
Consequently as many as 400,000 people have ‘liked’ Britain First’s Facebook page. I’m not linking to it but you can probably find it if you want. I’m pretty sure that most of those 400,000 people aren’t sure what they’re letting themselves in for.
So, if you come across an image on Facebook, just be a little careful before hitting the ‘like’ button or sharing it with your own friends, and check where it’s come from. Because you may be inadvertently promoting beliefs of those that you find abhorrent. And, depending on the sort of place that you work at, you may have to explain why you appear to have endorsed the message of far-right hate groups, if a manager were to come across your Facebook profile.