Facebook is struggling to silence Holocaust denialism on its platform, a report alleges.
The social media platform banned Holocaust denialism in 2020, but the topic still flourishes, according to a report from the Jewish hate watchdog Anti-Defamation League.
"One year since they first implemented their policy, Facebook has taken some positive steps to address the proliferation of Holocaust denial, but that doesn't mean that the problem has gone away," ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said Wednesday. "There's still a lot of Holocaust denial on Facebook."
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The ADL's Center on Extremism found that "the majority of Holocaust denial posts still accessible were posted prior to the October 2020 ban, yet never subsequently removed. These are located in public and private groups as well as on personal profiles, and may contain links to external, explicit Holocaust denial sources."
As part of an "extensive search" in which ADL experts "flagged the antisemitic speech using the platform’s built-in reporting mechanism," researchers also found that more generalized conspiracy-focused Facebook groups were promoting Holocaust denialism, often connected to other theories. Other promoters of Holocaust denialism did so by posting links to more obscure websites that Facebook may not have initially identified, the organization said.
Facebook attempted to counter the damage of the posts by labeling them with "false information" tags. However, ADL's researchers note that users could still click the link and access the websites in question.
While the ADL's report provided illustrative examples of Holocaust-denialist posts on the platform, it did not estimate how much content is posted.
Facebook announced in October 2020 that it would ban Holocaust denial content from the platform. Facebook's policy stated the company would prohibit "any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust," leading to the site closing major Holocaust denial groups and banning the search term "Holohoax" from the platform.
The social media platform later announced in January that it would redirect any interest in Holocaust denialism to resources off-site if it was detected.
The research team recommends Facebook "enforce policies on Holocaust denial consistently and at scale," review its content moderation training materials, and combat hate through "design product choices" such as restricting a broader range of keywords related to Holocaust denialism.
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In 2020, hate crimes motivated by religious bias accounted for 1,331 offenses, 59.1% of which were anti-Jewish, according to the Jewish Virtual Library.
Facebook and the ADL did not respond to a request for comment from the Washington Examiner.