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Following Facebook, Twitter says it will ban posts that deny the Holocaust

‘Hateful conduct has absolutely no place on our service,’ company says; move is praised by American Jewish leaders

In this file photo illustration, a Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile phone on May 27, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia. (Olivier DOULIERY / AFP)
In this file photo illustration, a Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile phone on May 27, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia. (Olivier DOULIERY / AFP)

Twitter has announced it will ban content that denies the Holocaust, a few days after Facebook announced a similar policy.

“We strongly condemn anti-Semitism, and hateful conduct has absolutely no place on our service,” a Twitter spokesperson said.

“We also have a robust ‘glorification of violence’ policy in place and take action against content that glorifies or praises historical acts of violence and genocide, including the Holocaust.”

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, an American Jewish umbrella group, hailed the move, saying it was “an encouraging sign of progress in the increasingly urgent fight against Jew-hatred that is on the rise at home and abroad.

“Social media platforms can and should be a force for good, and these new policies demonstrate that there can be a balance between freedom of speech and rejection of hate. We hope to see more platforms follow suit in the days ahead.”

On Monday Facebook said it would ban content that denies or distorts the Holocaust, describing the move as its latest effort to free the platform of hate.

The social media giant, which has long been criticized for not doing enough to disempower Holocaust deniers and other hate groups, said it would redirect users who search for terms about the Holocaust or its denial “to credible information off Facebook,” according to a company statement.

“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,” said a statement by Facebook vice president of content policy Monika Bickert.

Bickert cited a survey that showed almost a quarter of young adults in the United States saying the Holocaust was a myth or had been exaggerated.

Bickert described the steps on Holocaust denial content as part of its stepped-up effort to address hate after the company earlier banned more than 250 white supremacist groups, took down 22.5 million pieces of hate speech in the second quarter and banned anti-Semitic stereotypes.

She cautioned that the change will take time.

“Enforcement of these policies cannot happen overnight,” Bickert said. “There is a range of content that can violate these policies, and it will take some time to train our reviewers and systems on enforcement.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 2, 2017. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Facebook’s move was applauded by Anti-Defamation League Chief Executive Jonathan Greenblatt, who called the action “a big deal.”

“This has been years in the making,” Greenblatt said on Twitter. “Glad it finally happened.”

On Wednesday members of the Knesset lambasted TikTok for failing to combat anti-Semitism and Holocaust distortion on its platform.

On MK pointed to examples of what she described as offensive “trauma porn,” videos in which teenagers imagine what it would be like to be a Holocaust victim. Such videos have come under fire for being ill-informed and cheapening the memory of the Holocaust.

Representatives of TikTok responded that they have been removing Holocaust denial content since January and that they are doing their best to address the problem.

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