Holocaust denial content remains on Facebook three months after pledging to ban all content that “denies or distorts the Holocaust.”
That’s according to a new report from the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), which gave Facebook a “D” for its efforts.
ADL’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said the report released Wednesday on Holocaust Remembrance Day shows that Facebook and other major social media platforms are “still struggling to address anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial effectively.”
Among the pieces of content cited by the ADL that Facebook did not take down: a post promoting an anti-Semitic video that claims to expose “lies” about the Holocaust and a private Facebook group dedicated to “Holocaust Revisionism.”
Facebook removed the content after being contacted by USA TODAY.
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“We don’t agree – we’ve made major progress in fighting Holocaust denial on Facebook by implementing a new policy prohibiting it and enforcing against these hateful lies in every country around the world,” Facebook spokesperson Dani Lever told USA TODAY. “We are reviewing the content mentioned in this report and will continue working to keep Holocaust denial off of our platform.”
drew a sharp backlash when he defended the rights of Holocaust deniers to air their views on Facebook, saying his company would not remove content that was factually inaccurate even it was personally offensive to him.
After nearly a decade of campaigning by the ADL and personal pleas from Holocaust survivors, Facebook reversed that stance in October, saying it would now treat Holocaust denial as hate speech instead of misinformation.
Facebook’s vice president of content policy Monika Bickert cited rising anti-Semitism and “the alarming level of ignorance about the Holocaust,” especially among young people, for the policy change.
Facebook removed large Holocaust denial groups from the platform. Efforts to remove Facebook groups denying the Holocaust and calling it a “Holohoax” date back as far as 2009. At the same time, Facebook also banned anti-Semitic stereotypes.
When Facebook began restricting more content, some Holocaust deniers, who use hashtags such as #HolocaustNeverHappened and #HolocaustIsALie, moved to less restrictive social media platforms.
“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 wrote in a Facebook post at the time, acknowledging the real-world harms caused by hate spreading on his platforms.