San Francisco | Facebook will now remove all content “denying or distorting” the Holocaust, a further tightening of its content moderation rules that American associations have long demanded.
“We have long withdrawn the advocacy messages for hate crimes and mass killings, including the Holocaust. But with the rise of anti-Semitism, we are extending our rule to ban any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust as well, ”Mark Zuckerberg, boss of the social media giant, said on his profile on Monday.
Users researching the Holocaust will be redirected “to authoritative sources of information,” he said.
In the United States, revisionism and negationism are not prohibited and case law tends to place them under the protection of the First Amendment of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression.
“I struggled with this dilemma, between supporting freedom of expression and the damage caused by the fact of minimizing or denying the horror of the Holocaust”, elaborates the founder of the platform. But “my own thinking evolved when I saw data showing an increase in anti-Semitic violence.”
A Facebook statement released on Monday cites a study that found nearly a quarter of Americans between the ages of 18 and 39 believe the Holocaust to be a “myth”, that “it is overkill” or “are not sure.”
He recalls that the network has already recently banned anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jewish power, which often figure in conspiracy theories.
In the summer of 2018, Mark Zuckerberg, who is himself Jewish, explained that he did not want to remove denial messages from Facebook.
Last July, a Facebook spokesperson further indicated that the social network was not removing content “just because it is false”. Genocide survivors, however, asked the boss of the Californian group to remove denial content.
The American anti-Semitism organization Anti Defamation League (ADL) had just given several examples of private groups on Facebook in which users openly questioned the existence of the Holocaust or its extent.
This Facebook measure “took years to take shape,” reacted on Twitter Jonathan Greenblatt, president of the ADL. “Having personally worked with Facebook on this subject, I can attest that banning Holocaust denial is major (…). Glad it finally happened ”.
His NGO, associated with other civil society organizations, led this summer an advertising boycott followed by hundreds of companies against the social network, to force it to better monitor so-called “hate” content.