Story at a glance

  • George Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for an extended period of time during an arrest.
  • On social media, the hashtag “George Floyd challenge” has been used with images of white teenagers kneeling on another teenager’s neck.
  • Facebook and Twitter have said these posts will be removed for violating their rules.

Facebook and Twitter are responding to disturbing images circulating on social media mocking the death of George Floyd by reenacting the scene of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck. 

The images posted on social media with the hashtag “George Floyd Challenge” were first reported by media outlets in the United Kingdom. Three people have since been taken into custody in two separate arrests by Fife and Northumbria Police over their posts, which have since been taken down. Screenshots of these and similar posts, primarily on Snapchat, are now circulating on other social media platforms. 


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“We are aware, and are removing these posts for violating our Community Standards,” a spokesperson for Facebook told The New York Post, saying the posts were “encouraging participation in a high-risk viral challenge.”

The hashtag no longer appears on Facebook or its subsidiary, Instagram, although some posts denouncing the “challenge” remain. 

A Twitter spokesperson told Business Insider that "George Floyd challenge" posts violate their rules on self-harm and abusive behavior.


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"We're taking action tweets encouraging or promoting this as well as tweets that condone or justify this behavior," they told Business Insider, adding that they will allow posts that denounce the challenge, with an added "sensitive media warning on any related images.”

One user tagged the official U.S. Air Force Twitter account in a post with a screenshot of a Snapchat photo showing a young white man kneeling on a white boy’s neck. Text over the photo alleged the man, who was wearing a graduation cap, would be entering the Air Force. 

The hashtag remains on TikTok, which is owned by a Beijing-based internet technology company, but by noon on June 4 many of the top posts were criticizing those who participated.  


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Published on Jun 04, 2020