Facebook banning Kiwis from calling unruly tourists 'gypsies'

Author
NZ Herald ,
Section
National,
Publish Date
Sunday, 3 February 2019, 2:01p.m.
The use of the word 'gypsies' has been banned from one Facebook group. (Photo / NZ Herald)
The use of the word 'gypsies' has been banned from one Facebook group. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Facebook is banning New Zealanders from using the word "gypsy" on a page set up to track the unruly British tourists.

Uproar has taken over the page dubbed "Gypsy Scammers in NZ" - made up of nearly 5000 members - after a number of users have had their accounts temporarily banned, Stuff reports.

The founder of the page said she was furious the page had been censored saying their freedom of speech has been infringed upon because members were doing nothing wrong.

""I'm just gobsmacked and p... off the amount of people getting reported and banned. It's absolutely ridiculous. They are classing it as bloody hate speech ... Facebook has gone too far," she told Stuff.

No spelling of the word, not in short form or with deleted letters was being accepted by Facebook users on the page.

It's been almost a week since the last members of the unruly British family who caused havoc across New Zealand fled the country calling their trip a "holiday from hell."

Despite leaving New Zealand shores, social media posts about the group are still tracking.

The

The "unruly tourists" before they left New Zealand, with Joe Doran (centre) sporting a new blond hairstyle. Photo / File

One of the unruly family members featured in a post less than 14 hours ago with a member of the Facebook group saying:
"Admittedly we don't want him back, but we won't be forgetting him in a hurry."

Another member suggested one of the tourists or friends of was going through the Facebook group and reporting comments they didn't like.

The page started on January 14 after someone suggested a Facebook page is needed, the founder told Stuff.

It's gone "mental" since then, the founder said.

She admitted to the website the page's name is inaccurate, but doesn't want to change the it because people won't be able to find the page.

A Facebook spokesman responded to the uproar saying "gypsy" is a derogatory term and the politically correct term would be Romani people or Romani.

This example is a reminder that seemingly commonplace terms for communities of people can still be hate speech, the spokesman told Stuff.

The spokesman said the reason why the page has not been shut down is because no one has reported it, only the members' comments.

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