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Facebook to Ban Content that Denies, Distorts Holocaust

FILE - Facebook, Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
FILE - Facebook, Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook announced Monday that it is updating its hate speech policy and will ban all posts that deny or distort the Jewish Holocaust.

“We've long taken down posts that praise hate crimes or mass murder, including the Holocaust,” Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.

Zuckerberg said that with rising anti-Semitism, the company was expanding its policy to prohibit such content. He added, “If people search for the Holocaust on Facebook, we’ll start directing you to authoritative sources to get accurate information.”

The announcement follows a #NoDenyingIt campaign by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

The non-profit Anti-Defamation League said on Facebook that it was pleased the social media giant “has finally taken the step we have been asking for nearly a decade: Remove Holocaust denial from their platform.” The ADL also said, “They now need to be transparent and document the steps being taken to keep this hate off the platform.”

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder also welcomed the move, saying that by taking this “critical step,” Facebook is showing it recognizes Holocaust denial for what it truly is – a form of anti-Semitism “and therefore hate speech.”

The American Jewish Committee made similar comments, with its CEO, David Harris, calling the decision “profoundly significant.” He said, “There shouldn’t be a sliver of doubt about what the Nazi German regime did, nor should such a mega-platform as Facebook be used by antisemites to peddle their grotesque manipulation of history.”

An estimated six million Jews died in the Holocaust.

Zuckerberg, who is Jewish, came under fire in 2018 for saying in an interview that while he found Holocaust-denying content deeply offensive, he did not think it should be deleted.

“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 wrote Monday.

The move is the latest in a series of measures taken by Facebook to delete or ban offensive or false information, particularly ahead of the November 3 presidential election in the United States.

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