Facebook will delete posts denying or distorting the Holocaust, ignorance of it among youth one reason
The Facebook tech company will begin deleting posts by users of its social media platforms that deny or distort the history of the Holocaust, a step the firm is taking two years after its head Mark Zuckerberg said in an interview that while Holocaust denial is deeply insulting to him, social media should not delete such posts, the Associated Press (AP) reports. Recently Facebook has faced pressure to do more against the dissemination of disinformation on its platforms.
"I've struggled with the tension between standing for free expression and the harm caused by minimizing or denying the horror of the Holocaust," Zuckerberg posted to Facebook. "My own thinking has evolved as I've seen data showing an increase in anti-Semitic violence, as have our wider policies on hate speech."
The firm said it was also led to take the step by the "disturbing level of ignorance about the Holocaust, especially among young people." The AP reports that according to a recent survey, almost one-fourth of Americans between the age of 18 and 34 consider the Holocaust to be a myth, believe that its horrors are exaggerated, or have no idea what it involved.
Facebook also said that toward the end of this year it will begin referring users of its platforms to verified sources of information about the Holocaust or about Holocaust denial. The company will begin immediately removing such posts from Facebook and Instagram, although it warned that it would take some time to align its computer systems to the new rules and to train employees.
Zuckerberg's announcement was appreciated by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the World Jewish Congress (WJC). "Facebook is demonstrating that it considers Holocaust denial to be what it really is, a form of antisemitism, and therefore hate speech," said WCJ president Ronald Lauder.
Facebook faced a boycott this summer organized by a group of NGOs calling on other big firms not to buy advertising on social media unless such networks intervene against the dissemination of disinformation and hate speech on their platforms. Many employees of Facebook also expressed disagreement with the company's position at that time.
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