Facebook has announced it will remove all content on its platform that “denies or distorts the Holocaust.”
The company says this expansion of its hate speech policies is a response to what it calls “the well-documented rise in anti-Semitism globally and the alarming level of ignorance about the Holocaust, especially among young people.”
Facebook has previously faced strong criticism for letting Holocaust denial content spread freely on its platform.
In addition to removing content that denies or distorts the Holocaust, the company says that, starting later this year, it will direct anyone searching on Facebook for terms related to this topic to “credible information” supplied by third-party sources.
Earlier this year, Facebook said it would ban anti-Semitic stereotypes that depicts Jewish people as “running the world or its major institutions.” But a report a week later by a UK counter-extremism group, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), found that the company’s algorithm “actively promotes” Holocaust denial content.
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,” said Facebook’s VP of content policy, Monika Bickert, in a blog post.
Removing content that denies or distorts the Holocaust may seem like an obvious decision for a company that is frequently accused of enabling hate speech. But in the past, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who is Jewish, has presented the company’s tolerance of Holocaust denial as an example of its commitment to principles of free speech.
In an interview with Recode in 2018, Zuckerberg said that Facebook wouldn’t remove content from Holocaust deniers because he believed these individuals weren’t intentionally getting it wrong.