Facebook removes 'racist' page in Australia

File photo: Facebook Facebook has come under fire in Australia for a page that is deemed racist

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A Facebook page that depicted Aboriginal people in Australia as drunks and welfare cheats has been removed after a public outcry.

The Aboriginal Memes page had allowed users to post jokes about indigenous people.

An online petition calling for the removal of "the racist page" has generated thousands of signatures. The government has also condemned it.

The page's creator is believed to be a 16-year-old boy in Perth, reports say.

"We recognise the public concern that controversial meme pages that Australians have created on Facebook have caused,'' Facebook said in a statement to local media. A meme is an idea that spreads through the internet.

"We believe that sharing information, and the openness that results, invites conversation, debate and greater understanding.

"At the same time, we recognise that some content that is shared may be controversial, offensive, or even illegal in some countries.''

"I think it's absolutely inappropriate," Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy told ABC television.

"We don't live by American laws here in Australia, we live by Australian laws and this is an Australian who is using the fact that Facebook is based in the US to get away from Australian laws."

Australia's communication and media authority launched an investigation into the page on Tuesday, reports say.

An online petition against the page on website change.org has gathered more than 17,000 signatures in just two days.

"The page Controversial Humor Aboriginal Memes is an attack on the Aboriginal people of Australia and violates this term," the petition states, adding that racist terms were used "that completely belittle the rich heritage of the Aboriginal people".

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