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Facebook, Twitter Ban Holocaust Denial

(October 2020)

In a statement by Monika Bickert, VP of Content Policy, Facebook announced:

Today we are updating our hate speech policy to prohibit any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust.
Organizations that study trends in hate speech are reporting increases in online attacks against many groups worldwide, and we continue our efforts to remove it. We have banned more than 250 white supremacist organizations and updated our policies to address militia groups and QAnon. We also routinely ban other individuals and organizations globally, and we took down 22.5 million pieces of hate speech from our platform in the second quarter of this year. Following a year of consultation with external experts, we recently banned anti-Semitic stereotypes about the collective power of Jews that often depicts them running the world or its major institutions. 
Today’s announcement marks another step in our effort to fight hate on our services. 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. According to a recent survey of adults in the U.S. aged 18-39, almost a quarter said they believed the Holocaust was a myth, that it had been exaggerated or they weren’t sure.
Institutions focused on Holocaust research and remembrance, such as Yad Vashem, have noted that Holocaust education is also a key component in combatting anti-Semitism. Beginning later this year, we will direct anyone to credible information off Facebook if they search for terms associated with the Holocaust or its denial on our platform.
Enforcement of these policies cannot happen overnight. 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. We are grateful to many partners for their input and candor as we work to keep our platform safe.

Twitter also announced it would consider Holocaust denial a violation of its Hateful Conduct policy, which already banned hateful imagery such as the Nazi swastika and the manipulation of images of individuals to include yellow Star of David badges in reference to the Holocaust. A company spokeswoman said that “attempts to deny or diminish” violent events, including the Holocaust, would be removed from the site based on the company’s interpretation of the policy.

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

Sources: Monika Bickert, “Removing Holocaust Denial Content,” Facebook, (October 12, 2020);
Kurt Wagner, “Twitter, Like Facebook, to Remove Posts Denying the Holocaust,” Bloomberg, (October 14, 2020).