According to a new study, Facebook “actively promotes” Holocaust deniers on the platform
Sadly, this isn’t surprising.
Facebook is a dumpster fire wrapped in calming hues of blue and white, we all know this. That doesn’t stop (most of us) from using it, however. Now, according to a new study from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a UK counter-extremist organization, Facebook’s algorithms actively promote Holocaust deniers.
Facebook has come under quite a bit of pressure over its algorithms and not only what it promotes, but what it allows on the platform, and this is just another example. According to the investigation from ISD, users that type “holocaust” into the search bar are met with a plethora of denial pages and user accounts.
The social company has recently started banning conspiracy theories that revolve around Jewish people “ruling the world,” and ISD notes that Holocaust deniers fall in line with those theories by promoting antisemitic views.
Jacob Davey, ISD’s senior research manager, notes that “[d]enial of the Holocaust is a deliberate tool used to delegitimize 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.”
One popular term used on these pages, and across social media platforms like Twitter and YouTube, is “holohoax.” In the past two years, the team identified 19,000 uses on Twitter and 9,500 instances on YouTube. Reddit was also full of it, with 2,300 uses. Not all of them are in support of Holocaust deniers, but of 20 of the most retweeted instances on Twitter, 14 of them were in support of the antisemitic conspiracy.
In a statement to The Guardian, a Facebook spokesperson notes, “We take down any post that celebrates, defends, or attempts to justify the Holocaust. The same goes for any content that mocks Holocaust victims, accuses victims of lying, spews hate, or advocates for violence against Jewish people in any way. We also remove groups and pages that discuss Holocaust denial from recommendations and references to it in search predictions. While we do not take down content simply for being untruthful, many posts that deny the Holocaust often violate our policies against hate speech and are removed.”
The report from ISD seems to prove that the statement from Facebook is not entirely accurate. In a personal Facebook search, I’ve found low number of actual Holocaust denier pages and profiles, but instead, a high number of “Holocaust Revisionist” pages that make sure to state that they do not deny that the Holocaust happened but that statistics and information around it are inaccurate.
What do you think? Should Facebook be doing more to stop these pages from having a presence on the platform? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.
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