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12th Oct 2020

Facebook reverses its stance and says it will now ban Holocaust denial content

Alan Loughnane

Holocaust denial Facebook

CEO Mark Zuckerberg had previously used Facebook’s stance on this as an example of its commitment to the principles of free speech.

Facebook has banned Holocaust denial content from the platform following years of criticism over its refusal to take action against the anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Facebook announced it will remove all content on its platform that “denies or distorts the Holocaust.”

As well as removing the content, Facebook said that from later this year, it will direct anyone searching on Facebook for terms related to this topic to “credible information” supplied by third-party sources.

The social media giant said it made its decision due to a growing number of online hate speech attacks and is part of the company’s efforts to fight the spread of hate speech on its platforms.

“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.”

In 2018, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said he didn’t think Holocaust denial should be removed from their platform because he didn’t think the posters of the content were “intentionally getting it wrong.”

However, in Facebook post today, the CEO said that his view on the subject had “evolved” amid the rising wave of anti-Semitism.

“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.”

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