The popular social networking site Facebook will not disqualify users who use the site as a forum to deny the Holocaust, a spokesperson for the company told an Internet tech blog on Tuesday.
Responding to widespread indignation, Facebook appeared Monday to have taken down several Holocaust denial sites, though several others were still viewable.
The move came after a Facebook spokesman had earlier declined to shut down the Holocaust denial groups with names like Holocaust: A Series of Lies, Holohoax, and Holocaust is a Myth. While these sites were still live on Monday, others were deleted, including: Based on the facts ... there was no Holocaust, and Holocaust is a Holohoax.
But on Tuesday it seemed as if the company was making an about-face. "Denying the Holocaust is not a violation of our terms," Facebook spokesperson Barry Schnitt told the website Techcrunch.com
Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, a Jewish former Harvard University student.
"We abhor Nazi ideals and find Holocaust denial repulsive and ignorant," a spokesman said over the weekend. "Just being offensive or objectionable doesn't get it taken off Facebook. However, we believe people have a right to discuss these ideas, and we want Facebook to be a place where ideas, even controversial ideas, can be discussed."
Dallas lawyer Brian Cuban went public with Facebook's policy late last week, prompting outraged responses from across the internet. Many people pointed out that earlier this year the site had in fact used its power to ban pictures of breastfeeding.
"Jew-haters welcome at Facebook as long as they aren't lactating," the influential blog techCrunch noted in a headline.
Facebook Product Manager Ezra Callahan was cited by techCrunch as defending the company's policy.
Facebook Spokesman Randi Zuckerberg referred critics of the policy to an article written by Callahan on the subject:
Facebook is a "company run by a prominent Jew" and can't "possibly show preferential treatment to one offended group over others," Zuckerberg cited him as saying. According to Zuckerberg, Callahan himself is Jewish.
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