Facebook clamps down on the word 'gypsy' after unruly tourists saga

Social media giant Facebook is cracking down on hate speech in the wake of huge public interest in the unruly British tourists who caused havoc in New Zealand last month.

One word in particular has been the focus of their attentions - 'gypsy', a derogatory term for the Romani people that has been widely used by Kiwis to describe the group of travellers.

The crackdown on that word has drawn derision from a number of Facebook pages who were chronicling the exploits of the tourists - most notable the page 'Gypsy Scammers in NZ', which has thousands of followers and has been used widely by media for updates.

In a post by on Sunday morning from one of the group's admins, he explained why it'd renamed itself 'Travelling Scammers in NZ'.

"I'm aware the story is out there and it's been shared across UK so only a matter of time before a supporter sees it and makes the complaint that kills the page," he wrote.

"The name might change again yet... I just quickly changed it to something that covers our arse. We can probably now share the stuff article."

One response to the name change described it as "bloody ridiculous".

Facebook guidelines define hate speech as "language that attacks people based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, disability".

The debacle involving the unruly tourists traces back to January, when the group of travellers, initially thought to be Irish, were confronted by a group of beachgoers at Auckland's Takapuna Beach after allegedly leaving a huge pile of rubbish behind. 

The incident struck a nerve with New Zealanders, with many calling for the holidaymakers to be deported from the country. 


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