Facebook Among Worst Social Media Platforms at Combating Holocaust Denial, Report Finds

Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
Washington
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In this file photo, Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks on stage during the annual Facebook F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, U.S., April 18, 2017.
In this file photo, Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks on stage during the annual Facebook F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, U.S., April 18, 2017.Credit: Stephen Lam / Reuters
Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
Washington

Facebook is among the worst social media platforms at combating Holocaust denial, according to a new assessment released Wednesday by the Anti-Defamation League.

The assessment, released as the world commemorates International Holocaust Remembrance Day, grades 10 social media platforms according to their respective Holocaust denial and general hate speech policies, response rates within a 24-hour period, and actions taken against Holocaust denial. The investigation also took into account the effectiveness of each company's product-level efforts at addressing Holocaust denial and notifications sent detailing policy reasons for their enforcement actions. 

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Twitch was the highest-ranked platform with a "B" rating, earning praise for being the most responsive platform with the most robust policies in place for addressing Holocaust denial. Twitter, YouTube, TikTok and Roblox received "C" ratings, earning praise for their efforts at removing content and redirecting users to credible Holocaust information, as well as preventing the amplification of Holocaust denial. Discord, Reddit, and Steam received near-failing "D" ratings alongside Facebook (including Instagram).

“In recent years, content denying the Holocaust has appeared on an array of social media platforms, largely because those companies have not been nimble enough or taken the issue seriously,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said. “While some platforms have finally stepped up their efforts to stop the amplification of denial, others are still struggling to address antisemitism and Holocaust denial effectively," Greenblatt noted, adding that "this is truly shameful at a time when antisemitic conspiracy theories are spreading globally, some outrageously based on the big lie that the Holocaust never happened.”

After the release of the report, Facebook announced Wednesday that people who search for information about the Holocaust on its service will now be prompted to visit a site curated by the World Jewish Congress and UNESCO, and users will see a box labeled “Learning About the Holocaust” when they search Holocaust terms.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had long advocated that content that denies the Holocaust not be banned from the platform on the grounds that "the best way to fight offensive bad speech is with good speech." But in October, Facebook said it was updating its hate speech policy to ban any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust and recategorize Holocaust denial as hate speech instead of disinformation.  

Despite the shift, the ADL found that Facebook still fails to respond when Holocaust denial content is flagged. The ADL also noted that among the 10 platforms it investigated, Facebook was the only one that had confirmed – following its own internal review process – that the majority of the content flagged did not violate its community standards.

Greenblatt and the ADL spearheaded the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign, leading an ad boycott against social media companies – particularly Facebook – in a bid to hold them accountable for hosting hate on their platforms and valuing profits over prejudice. He told Haaretz last month that social media has been “the fundamental force” behind extremism’s rapid mainstreaming and the broadening of societal divisiveness.

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