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ADL: Holocaust denial still prevalent on Facebook, despite ban it imposed year ago

Watchdog says some search terms are blocked on platform, but others remain available; and response to flagged content is insufficient

In this file photo from August 11, 2019, an iPhone displays the apps for Facebook and Messenger in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)
In this file photo from August 11, 2019, an iPhone displays the apps for Facebook and Messenger in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

The Anti-Defamation League has said that, a year after Facebook banned Holocaust denial from the platform, there remain “cracks in enforcement” that allow deniers to disseminate hate speech.

While Facebook has banned certain search terms related to Holocaust denial, others remain available, bringing up video and pages.

“There’s still a lot of Holocaust denial on Facebook,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said this week. “We urge the platform to take additional steps to address these cracks in enforcement as well as to ensure that the ban is more consistently applied across the platform.”

The ADL noted that content it flagged in several instances as denying the Holocaust had gone untouched by the platform.

It also said groups that deal with conspiracy theories, though not Holocaust denial exclusively, also traffic in denial claims.

“As ADL has explained to Facebook for years, Holocaust denialism is hate speech. It is the deliberately antisemitic attempt to claim that the Holocaust never happened or that a much smaller number of Jews did die,” said Greenblatt. “This offensive content causes pain and harm for Jews, particularly at a time of rising concern about antisemitic incidents.”

Over the past year Facebook has increasingly moved to combat Holocaust denial, removing offending content as well as directing people who search for information about the Holocaust toward accurate third-party information, using the same approach it has taken to combat misinformation about elections and COVID-19.

 

 

 

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