Facebook criticized for not doing enough to enforce its Holocaust denial policy

The Anti-Defamation League gave it a grade of "D" along with Reddit, Discord and Steam.

Sponsored Links

Dado Ruvic / Reuters

Last year, Facebook finally banned Holocaust denial content, after tacitly allowing it to fester on its site for years. And today on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the company touted efforts to connect people to “credible information about the Holocaust.” However, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said that Facebook is failing to enforce its own policies, leaving hateful content up after its reported, as seen by CNET. It gave the site a D along with Reddit, Steam and Discord, for how it handles Holocaust denial posts.

The ADL created report cards for most major social media sites, based on criteria like whether social media sites had policies against Holocaust denial and the ease of finding such content. The ADL weighted enforcement the highest, so it reported Holocaust denial content in January to test how Facebook and the other sites responded..

Twitch received the highest grade, a B, while Twitter, YouTube, TikTok and Roblox all got Cs. The reason Twitch got a higher mark is that while both Twitch and Facebook have policies against Holocaust denial speech, Twitch took down reported posts while Facebook did not.

For example, the ADL reported a video with the caption “Holohoax,” with comments clearly denying the Holocaust. Facebook took no action, stating “The video was reviewed, and though it doesn't go against one of our specific Community Standards, we understand that it may be offensive to you and others.”

In recent years, content denying the Holocaust has appeared on an array of social media platforms, largely because those companies have not been nimble enough or taken the issue seriously. While some platforms have finally stepped up their efforts to stop the amplification of denial, others are still struggling to address antisemitism and Holocaust denial effectively. This is truly shameful at a time when antisemitic conspiracy theories are spreading globally, some outrageously based on the big lie that the Holocaust never happened.

Facebook said it disagreed with the ADL’s report card. “[W]e'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," a Facebook spokesperson told CNET. “We've removed the content mentioned in this report and will continue working to keep Holocaust denial off of our platform.”

In a post that went up today, Facebook said that anyone searching for Holocaust or Holocaust denial terms will now receive a message directing them to credible genocide information. “The Holocaust was the organized persecution and killing of 6 million Jewish people, alongside other targeted groups, by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II,” the message states. It then directs users to visit a website with accurate Holocaust information.

The ADL noted that nearly half of Americans under 40 had been exposed to Holocaust denial or distortion. ““While some platforms have finally stepped up their efforts to stop the amplification of denial, others are still struggling to address antisemitism and Holocaust denial effectively,” said ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt. “This is truly shameful at a time when antisemitic conspiracy theories are spreading globally, some outrageously based on the big lie that the Holocaust never happened.”

Popular on Engadget