An Exeter University ‘honesty’ Facebook page accused of posting Nazi propaganda has been reported to the Police Hate Crime Unit and Facebook.
ExeHonestly, an anonymous open Facebook page which invites people – particularly University students – to post their personal views, claims it unknowingly approved the publication of posts which had racist connotations.
One controversial post offered a bag of sweets to those who could answer the riddle: ‘What accounts for 13%, yet 52%?’.
It is referring to a statistic circulated by white supremacist online communities who claim that, ‘despite making up only 13 percent of the population, blacks make up 52 per cent of crimes’.
Another post read: “People’s favourite number? Mine’s 1488”.
The number is a purported hate symbol – a combination of two white supremacist symbols.
The first being 14, which is shorthand for the 14-word slogan, ‘we must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children’, coined by David Lane, a member of white supremacist terrorist group The Order.
The second is 88, which stands for Heil Hitler; H being the eighth letter of the alphabet.
The page is followed by more than 14,500 people – mainly students – and screenshots of the posts have been circulating on Twitter. Both posts have since been deleted from the Facebook page.
On Facebook ExeHonestly is described as ‘Exeter’s very own honesty page’ and states, ‘the views expressed here are not of the admins, no offence is meant to be caused’.
A concerned Exeter University student, who asked not to be named, claimed it was far from an isolated incident and said concerns about the page have previously been reported to the university.
They said: “A lot of people hide behind the fact it’s anonymous. Most universities have these confession pages, but this is to an almost frightening degree as these are the views of criminal groups rather than students trying to have a laugh.
“We’ve been pushing for the university to do something about what is posted for close to a year.
“Racism happens once every couple of months or so prompting some people to kick up a fuss and then it dies down and happens again. Over the last few days quite a few have gotten through.
“The latest reply from ExeHonestly is their standard response. The issue is the monitoring and administration of the page. There is an epidemic of racism on the campus and it should be tackled along with addressing the administration of this particular page.
“It does sadden me as academically this is a fantastic place. I think the university could have handled it more sensitivity and addressed it with severity from the beginning.”
Exeter’s Jewish Society told The Exeter Tab: “We are appalled by the recent posts on ExeHonestly.
“Whilst we champion free speech and see a great value in it, there is no space for Jewish students, or indeed any students at any university to feel uncomfortable or scared due to their religious, racial or ethnic background.
“We praise the university for taking action, bringing a problem to the attention of students.”
A University of Exeter spokesperson told Devon Live: “ExeHonestly is an anonymous Facebook page open to anyone to post content and operated by anonymous administrators.
“We have deep concerns about the content these administrators post that affect our community and we urge our students not to use it.
“We have reported our concerns about the site to Facebook, and now escalated matters to the Police Hate Crime Unit and will work with them to identify those responsible. If we obtain specific information about any of our students posting abusive or offensive content we will take immediate and appropriate action.
“Racism cannot be tolerated in any form in our community and students can contact us with information or concerns through our Speak Out website.”
ExeHonestly admin have said they removed the posts as soon as they became aware of the ‘hidden meaning’ behind them.
“We do not condone any hateful racist content on our page, and endeavour to filter any posts of that nature.
“As soon as we were made aware of the true meaning behind those posts, we removed them from out page. We deeply regret that they cleared our attempts at scrutiny and have made people feel unsafe.
“However, we do hope that people understand the nature of dog whistle posts is that the true meaning is not apparent to people unless they are aware of the hidden meaning behind them, making it incredibly difficult to spot.
“If we were aware of the meaning we would not have approved the post. In addition, we are disappointed that certain individuals chose to screenshot those posts and post them distribute them further, rather than immediately alert us to the posts true meaning.
“This would have resulted in the posts being removed sooner and has given more publicity to someone’s posts who was likely intentionally trying to be inflammatory and cause a reaction.”