Facebook directs users to Holocaust education when searching for denial

Facebook will be commemorating the lives of the six millions Jews who lost their lives during the Holocaust through a special initiative, in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.To do so, Facebook partnered with the World Jewish Congress (WJC) in order to provide credible Holocaust education resources to Facebook users.Through the initiative, Facebook users will be connected with a comprehensive resource that encompasses the full scope of the history of the Holocaust, when searching for terms associated with the Holocaust or its denial. The social media giant developed the resource jointly with UNESCO, supported by Roman Abramovich and Chelsea Football Club’s “Say No to Antisemitism” campaign.“I am grateful for all that the World Jewish Congress and UNESCO do to honor the six million people who were murdered just for being Jewish, the countless more who were killed for who they were, and those who survived this horrendous chapter in human history,” said Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg.”This International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we are proud to partner with them to help people learn the facts about the Holocaust and hear the stories of those who survived,” she said. “At a time of rising hate and intolerance, taking time to read and reflect on what happened to Jews and others in Europe is more important than ever.”Directing users to the online educational resource is the most recent example of Facebook’s efforts to eliminate Holocaust denial from its platform. Facebook updated its hate speech policy within its new terms of service in October, banning any content that either denies or distorts the Holocaust from appearing on the social media platform, and has tailored its content management algorithm to remove posts that contravene the rule.

“Holocaust denial, Holocaust distortion, and the spreading of conspiracy myths about the Holocaust generally have become cornerstones in the vicious incitement of antisemitic hatred on the part of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and other extremist forces,” said WJC president Ronald S. Lauder. “Learning the facts of the Holocaust is crucial to combating all those who deliberately desecrate the memory of the millions who were murdered by Nazi Germany and its multinational accomplices, in order to promote their reprehensible agenda,” he said. “The Holocaust is the ultimate example of what can happen when hatred and malicious lies rooted in deliberate misinformation are allowed to thrive.”Facebook has been on a campaign to fight disinformation and calls to violence since late last year. It announced on separate occasions that it will ban ads that explicitly discourage people from getting vaccinated for coronavirus or any other disease, and that it will police posts alluding to election fraud and calls to violence, even from former president Donald Trump himself, in addition to its promise to eliminate Holocaust denial from the platform.”Today we’re updating our hate speech policy to ban Holocaust denial,” said Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is Jewish, in a Facebook post last October. “We’ve long taken down posts that praise hate crimes or mass murder, including the Holocaust. But with rising antisemitism, we’re expanding our policy to prohibit any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust as well.”“Transmitting the history of the Holocaust is key to combating denial and conspiracy theories today – it is key to equipping people with the skills they need to refuse the hateful logic of antisemitism, racism and hatred, and to challenging those who seek to exploit ignorance,” said UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay. “We must join forces to share factual and reliable information on social media platforms, and this partnership is a clear step in the right direction.”