Tech World

Tue 13 October 2020:

Facebook  on Monday announced a significant change in how it approaches Holocaust denial content on its social network. For years, the company has been criticized for not taking down this extremely offensive form of content in favor of allowing free speech and distancing itself from taking on the responsibilities of a traditional publisher. 

The company said it made the decision amid a growing number of online hate speech attacks and is a part of Facebook’s newer efforts to fight the spread of hate speech across its platform.

“We have banned more than 250 white supremacist organizations and updated our policies to address militia groups and QAnon,” explained Facebook in an announcement, authored by Monika Bickert, VP of Content Policy. “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,” the company said.

The Anti-Defamation League civil rights group hailed the change of course, saying that as the US prepares for the Nov. 3 presidential elections Facebook “users have been using the platform to perpetuate hate and conspiracy theories at alarming rates.”

“We are relieved that Facebook has finally taken the step that we have been asking them to take for nearly a decade: to call Holocaust denial and distortion what it is-‘hate speech’- and in doing so, to remove it from their platform,” President Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement.

“The Holocaust, the systematic murder of approximately six million Jews and several million others during World War II, is one of history’s most painstakingly examined and well-documented genocides,” he added.

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