Facebook has removed a hate-page set up in the aftermath of Drummer Lee Rigby’s brutal death in London, following complaints from his family and friends.
The social networking site initially suspended the “Lee Rigby Deserved It” page only to re-publish it a short time later to the horror of the site’s users. After a wave of complaints the page had finally been removed by Monday morning.
The page was flagged up by the family’s official Facebook tribute page - run by Drummer Rigby’s stepdad Lee, sisters Chelsea and Sara and friend Lee Brady - last week. Lyn Rigby, Lee’s mum, removed herself as an admin from the page because of the distress.
The RIP Lee Rigby page – which has more than 192,000 likes - issued an appeal on 25 July asking members to report the offensive page to Facebook.
Three days later, a statement was posted expressing disappointment at Facebook’s handling of the situation.
“It is so horrible to see pages like 'Lee Rigby Deserved it' being allowed on Facebook. Not only did we have so many people report the page and we thank you for that but it should not be allowed on here. Facebook did take away the horrible page only to review the page and decided to put the page back up for everyone to see as it does not apply to any kind of 'hate speech',” the statement said.
Drummer Rigby’s friend, Lee Brady, told The Drum the incident wasn’t the first mark of disrespect towards Drummer Rigby, who was killed in broad daylight in Woolwich on 22 May.
“Lyn has asked me to remove herself as an admin of the page for the time being as it’s all getting a bit much, which is very understandable. All this stuff regarding the page that’s shockingly allowed to stay on Facebook just after the incident with things being stolen from Lee’s grave is just a bit too much and she will need space and time away from the memorial page.
“I’ll be there in support of Lyn and keep her updated with the more positive things from Lee’s page.”
The page was removed shortly after Brady spoke to The Drum and Facebook confirmed it wouldn’t be back but declined to comment on why it had been re-published after its initial suspension.
A spokesman said: “I can confirm that the page has been taken down as it violated Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. While we can’t comment on the specific details of individual cases, profiles, pages, photos or groups can be removed from the site for a variety of reasons.”
Two men are currently awaiting trial for the murder of 25-year-old Drummer Rigby, which left the nation in shock. Thousands lined the street for the soldier’s funeral and offered a wave of support to his family. He left behind wife Rebecca and two-year-old son, Jack.