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Holocaust denialism rampant on Facebook: research

Paul Brislen, Editor. 17 August 2020, 12:29 pm

A UK-based counter-extremism group has found Facebook houses dozens of Holocaust-denial groups with hundreds of thousands of users and actively promotes these to anyone searching Facebook.

A brief search of Facebook from a New Zealand account brings up two denial groups in the top five recommended groups, with the number one page proclaiming "This is a group to discuss the lies that have been told over 80 years and the injustice that has been thrust upon the Germanic people".

Once a Facebook user has visited such a page the social media giant automatically recommends other similar content. Facebook remains reluctant to tackle Holocaust denial pages despite saying it is doing more to tackle hate speech online.

In the UK Sunday publication The Observer, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue's senior research manager, Jacob Davey is quoted as saying, "Facebook's decision to allow Holocaust denial content to remain on its platform is framed under the guise of protecting legitimate historical debate, but this misses the reason why people engage in Holocaust denial in the first place.

"Denial of the Holocaust is a deliberate tool used to delegitimise the suffering of the Jewish people and perpetuate long-standing antisemitic tropes, and when people explicitly do this it should be seen as an act of hatred," he said.

Facebook, and other social media companies, maintain they are not the publishers of such content but merely a platform that allows the content producers to self-publish. However, as these companies move away from simply allowing users to publish content and more towards a curated feed, this argument is starting to wear thin around the world.



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