Thursday, 22 Oct 2020 - 4 of Heshvan, 5781
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Yad Vashem, World Jewish Congress welcome Facebook’s announcement to prohibit all forms of Holocaust denial on its platform

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Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, welcomed Facebook’s decision to update their hate speech policy to prohibit all forms of Holocaust denial and distortion on its platform.

In a recent letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev indicated that antisemitism is not simply identifiable by keywords, phrases or algorithms but requires human understanding and sensitivities in recognizing and banning such posts.

Facebook said Monday it will remove all content on its platform and on Instagram that “denies or distorts the Holocaust.”

The company explained that this decision is a response to what it calls “the well-documented rise in anti-Semitism globally and the alarming level of ignorance about the Holocaust, especially among young people.”

Facebook has previously faced strong criticism for letting Holocaust denial content spread on its platform.

In addition to removing content that denies or distorts the Holocaust, the company said that, starting later this year, it will direct anyone searching on Facebook for terms related to this topic to “credible information” supplied by third-party sources.

Earlier this year, Facebook said it would ban anti-Semitic stereotypes that depicts Jewish people as “running the world or its major institutions.”

Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, welcomed Facebook’s decision to update their hate speech policy to prohibit all forms of Holocaust denial and distortion on its platform.

In a recent letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev indicated that antisemitism is not simply identifiable by keywords, phrases or algorithms but requires human understanding and sensitivities in recognizing and banning such posts.

Furthermore, Shalev wrote how “education is a vital way of fighting Holocaust distortion and antisemitism.” Accordingly, Yad Vashem supports Facebook’s initiative of directing its users to credible and fact-based content sources, such as Yad Vashem’s comprehensive website in eight languages, as a significant step in the right direction.

“We encourage Facebook to do its utmost and implement these new policies, which we hope, in time, will help fight against all forms of antisemitism, hatred and bigotry, which plague us both on and off line,” said Iris Rosenberg, Director of Yad Vashem Communications Division.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder declared, “By taking the critical step to remove Holocaust denial content, Facebook is showing that it recognizes Holocaust denial for what it truly is – a form of antisemitism and therefore hate speech.’’

“Denying the Holocaust, trivializing it, minimizing it, is a tool used to spread hatred and false conspiracies about Jews and other minorities. Today’s announcement sends a strong message that Facebook will not allow its platform to be misused to promote hate,’’ Lauder added.

The World Jewish Congress said it has advocated for Facebook to remove Holocaust denial content from its platform and has worked with the social media company’s policy teams to review such posts and classify them as hate speech under the company’s community standards. In recent months, Facebook has taken important strides to address the rise of hate speech including the banning of other conspiracies.

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