In October 2020, Facebook decides to ban Holocaust denial

Social network cites an 'alarming level' of ignorance about the Nazi extermination program among young people.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor
Facebook website
Image: Kon Karampelas

Users of Facebook that deny one of the most gruesome episodes in human history will now find their content banned under a policy change announced by Facebook on Monday.

"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," the company said in a blog post.

"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."

Facebook said it will redirect any users searching for the Holocaust, including its denial, to "credible information off Facebook".

The issue of Facebook allowing Holocaust denial to be discussed on its platform is a long-running one.

In 2018, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Recode that he found Holocaust denial deeply offensive, but that Facebook should not take it down.

In an update posted Monday, Zuckerberg said his thinking had evolved thanks to data showing a rise in anti-Semitic violence.

"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 said.

"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."

In August, Facebook clamped down on the content and groups related to the QAnon conspiracy theory, United States militia groups, and offline anarchist groups.

The company said on Monday it had also banned 250 white supremacist organisations and taken down 22.5 million instances of hate speech during the second quarter.

Last April, the New Zealand Privacy Commissioner John Edwards labelled Facebook as "morally bankrupt pathological liars who enable genocide (Myanmar)".

Facebook has long been home to groups discussing conspiracy theories and railing against the modern world, including vaccinations, fluoride, and recently, 5G. At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the same groups attempted to link COVID-19 to the deployment of 5G.

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