Facebook announced Monday that they will be removing content that “denies or distorts the Holocaust” in an effort to clamp down on hate speech on the platform.
“Organizations that study trends in hate speech are reporting increases in online attacks against many groups worldwide, and we continue our efforts to remove it,” said Monika Bickert, VP of Content Policy, in a statement. Explaining how they have banned more than 250 white supremacist organizations, as well as “updated our policies to address militia groups and QAnon,” Bickert claimed Facebook “took down 22.5 million pieces of hate speech from our platform in the second quarter of this year.”
“Following a year of consultation with external experts, we recently banned anti-Semitic stereotypes about the collective power of Jews that often depicts them running the world or its major institutions,” Bickert continued.
Citing a recent survey that showed nearly a quarter of Americans aged 18-39 believed the Holocaust was a myth, Bickert said their 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.”
In a post on his Facebook page, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in part, “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,” Zuckerberg added. “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. Drawing the right lines between what is and isn’t acceptable speech isn’t straightforward, but with the current state of the world, I believe this is the right balance.”
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, praised the social media giant’s new standard, tweeting, “this has been years in the making. Having personally engaged with @Facebook on the issue, I can attest the ban on Holocaust Denial is a big deal. Whether it’s @ADL & #StopHateForProfit‘s insistence, #NoDenyingIt-it doesn’t matter. Glad it finally happened.”
“Relieved that Zuckerberg and Facebook recognize the harm Holocaust Denial causes,” Greenblatt added. “Again, I wish this had happened five years ago, three years ago or even earlier this year, but as MLK said: ‘The time is always right to do what is right.'”
Relieved that Zuckerberg and Facebook recognize the harm Holocaust Denial causes. Again, I wish this had happened five years ago, three years ago or even earlier this year, but as MLK said: "The time is always right to do what is right." pic.twitter.com/cto05hSO6z
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) October 12, 2020
Misinformation regarding the Holocaust is prevalent among younger people, according to a recent survey in all 50 states. As The Daily Wire reported:
A surprisingly high number of young Americans polled nationwide displayed profound ignorance about the Holocaust, with a sizable percentage even believing that Jewish people were responsible for it, according to the results of a survey released on Wednesday.
In the first-ever survey of young people between 18 and 39 in all 50 states about the topic, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany discovered that nearly two-thirds of those polled did not know that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Nearly half could not name a single concentration camp or ghetto. Almost a quarter either did not believe the Holocaust happened, that it was exaggerated, or were unsure. About 12% had not heard about the Holocaust at all, or were unsure if they had.
In a finding that the study described as “particularly disquieting,” nearly 20% of respondents in New York believed that Jews were responsible for the Holocaust, which was the highest percentage in a nation where 11% of young people polled overall believed the same thing.
Another portion of the survey discovered that about half had “witnessed Holocaust denial or distortion on social media,” and 30% had seen Nazi symbols either on social media or in their community.