Facebook bans Holocaust denial content


Angela Lang/CNET

Facebook on Monday updated its hate speech policy to prohibit “content that denies or distorts the Holocaust,” the World War II genocide of Europe’s Jewish population by Nazi Germany and its collaborators.

“Our decision is supported by the well-documented rise in anti-Semitism globally and the alarming level of ignorance about the Holocaust, especially among young people,” Monika Bickert, its vice president of content policy, said in a release. “According to a recent survey of adults in the US aged 18-39, almost a quarter said they believed the Holocaust was a myth, that it had been exaggerated or they weren’t sure.”

Later this year, it’ll also start directing people who search for terms linked to the Holocaust or its denial to credible information outside the social network, Bickert noted. Around six million Jews — two thirds of Europe’s Jewish population — were killed between 1941 and 1945, according to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

In 2018, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg sparked outrage for saying Holocaust denial shouldn’t be removed from the site because he didn’t think “that they’re intentionally getting it wrong.” He outlined his shift in stance in a Facebook post Monday.

“I’ve struggled with the tension between standing for free expression and the harm caused by minimizing or denying the horror of the Holocaust,” he wrote. “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.”

Civil rights groups have also campaigned for Facebook to do more to combat hate speech, getting celebrities like Kim Kardashian West and Katy Perry to “freeze” their Facebook and Instagram accounts, putting pressure on the company.

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