Facebook Issues Total Ban On Holocaust Denial
Facebook has issued a total ban on content that perpetuates Holocaust denial, with new measures prohibiting anything that ‘denies or distorts the Holocaust’.
In a statement made Monday, October 12, CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that those searching for the Holocaust via Facebook will be directed to ‘authoritative sources to get accurate information’.
Facebook has previously been criticised for not taking a strong enough stance on the issue of Holocaust denial, which has seen an alarming rise in recent times.
We’ve long taken down posts that praise hate crimes or mass murder, including the Holocaust. But with rising anti-Semitism, we’re expanding our policy to prohibit any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust as well.
I’ve struggled with the tension between standing for free expression and the harm caused by minimizing or denying the horror of the Holocaust. My own thinking has evolved as I’ve seen data showing an increase in anti-Semitic violence, as have our wider policies on hate speech.
Zuckerberg went on to explain the difficulty in drawing ‘the right lines between what is and isn’t acceptable speech’, but reaffirmed his belief that the new rules struck the right balance.
In a blog post, Facebook explained that this decision was in response to the well-documented rise in anti-Semitism on a global scale, as well as worrying levels of ignorance about the Holocaust.
This ignorance is said to be especially prevalent among young people, with a recent survey of US adults aged between 18 to 39 finding that nearly one-quarter believed the Holocaust to be a myth, exaggerated or expressed that they ‘weren’t sure’.
Facebook also noted recent measures it has already taken to tackle hate speech, with the social media site having banned 250 white supremacist organisations and updated its policies to tackle militia groups and QAnon.
It has also routinely banned other individuals and organisations across the globe, having removed 22.5 million pieces of hate speech during the second quarter of 2020.
When bringing in these new measures, Facebook reportedly worked with a number of organisations that combat antisemitism, including the World Jewish Congress and the American Jewish Committee, the Community Security Trust, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
The World Jewish Congress has praised this move forward, having pushed for Facebook to remove Holocaust denial content for several years.
World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said:
By taking the critical step to remove Holocaust denial content, Facebook is showing that it recognizes Holocaust denial for what it truly is – a form of antisemitism and therefore hate speech.
Denying the Holocaust, trivializing it, minimizing it, is a tool used to spread hatred and false conspiracies about Jews and other minorities. Today’s announcement sends a strong message that Facebook will not allow its platform to be misused to promote hate.
As per History.com, an approximate six million Jews died during the Holocaust, a systemic state-sanctioned mass murder driven by the evil ideology of the Nazi party.
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CreditsMark Zuckerberg/Facebook and 3 others
World Jewish Congress