Antisemitic Page - Proud to be a Holocaust Denier

Summary

The Facebook page Proud to be a Holocaust Denier (page id: 1420505938199432) was created on March 24th 2014. It currently has 262 supporters. The page propagates antisemitism and Holocaust denial. Some of the page’s content could be described as deliberately misleading, while other content could be described as deliberately offensive. The content, however, goes beyond mere insult or offence, it is an affront to the dignity of members of the Jewish community in general and to Holocaust survivors and their decedents in particular. The content is unlawful under Section 18C of Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act as it currently stands, but would likely be lawful under proposed amendments put forward by Australia’s Attorney-General.

This briefing provides some background to the issue of Holocaust denial on Facebook and the impact that proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act will have in this area. We then present a number of examples of racist hate speech from the Holocaust denial page “Proud to be a Holocaust Denier”. These examples include links to live versions of the images on Facebook and readers are encouraged to visit the links and report the images. The report also provides a walk through to show you how to report the images, and also how to report the page. So long as S18C is in place, and with your help, we have at least a chance to get this page of hate removed, or at least blocked in Australia. Sharing this briefing (see the links above) will also help build the momentum.

Update 3 April: The “Proud to be a Holocaust Denier” page has been temporarily unpublished. This does not mean it has been removed, but rather than it is being reviewed. If you reported the page previously you can check its status in your Facebook support dashboard (click here to see it). Until the status changes to “This page was removed” we still have a problem. If you reported the page, for now the only thing you can do to help is sharing this briefing to help spread the word. We’ll update this briefing when Facebook makes the page visible again or if they relent and remove it.

Table of Contents

  1. Analysis and background
  2. Hate Examples
  3. How to Report the Images
  4. How to Report the Page
  5. Additional images from the page (for media)

See also: The press release about this briefing

Analysis

The Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI) is Australia’s national charity for reducing harm to people from online hate. That harm can include emotional harm, self harm, suicide, substance abuse and other forms of harm (see our video). We rely on laws such as S18C of the Racial Discrimination Act making racist hate speech unlawful, and we use this to convince social media companies to remove or at least block direct Australian access to content that puts people and the community at risk. Complying with local laws can trump more general global policies and allows national community standard on what is acceptable and what is not to be applied.

Without our own laws, we are stuck with the general global standards as determined by Facebook themselves. In the case of Holocaust denial, Facebook’s position has been particularly problematic for many years. Holocaust denial is covered by the free speech principle of the First Amendment to the United States constitution. This means the US Government cannot pass a law prohibiting Holocaust denial, but neither can it pass a law protecting it on private platforms like Facebook. The choice is left to the platform providers.

In a letter to the Global Forum to Combat Antisemitism in 2011 Facebook justify their position of permitting most forms of Holocaust denial by claiming they “recognize people’s right to be factually wrong about historical events” and that this was different to “direct statements of hate and clear threats of violence against specific people or groups of people”. Facebook’s position has been described as “naive and out of touch with reality”, thousands have signed petitions and over 20,000 have joined a Facebook page in protest.

Facebook will take action to block access to Holocaust denial by users from countries where Holocaust denial is unlawful. Broad anti-racism laws like Section 18C of Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act can be used to faciltate such blocks. The recently proposed changes to Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act would result in a regime in Australia that was substantially similar to Facebook’s position. It would make only threats of physical violence and incitement of third parties to hatred unlawful. Most Holocaust denial examples on Facebook manage to undermine the dignity of survivors, and the Jewish community generally, without directly inciting third parties to hatred or threatening violence. As OHPI’s CEO, Dr Andre Oboler, explains:

“Limiting the protection from racial discrimination in the way that is currently proposed by Australia’s Attorney-General will make much of the online Holocaust denial we see lawful. The change would render community standards in Australia irrelevant, and would leave the decision of whether the significant power of social media can be used to take Holocaust denial viral up to social media companies themselves. Facebook’s position is to allow most forms of Holocaust denial; their position has outraged the Jewish community and Holocaust survivors around the world.  Australia has the largest number of Holocaust survivors per-capita outside of Israel. These survivors have contributed a lot to Australia, and all Australians should stand with them against changes which could see Holocaust denial going viral to poison the minds of Australian children.”

You can help get by reporting the racist images that have been posted to the “Proud to be a Holocaust Denier” page, and then reporting the page itself. Examples of the content are below, along with links that will bring the images up so you can report them. Further down the page is a step by step guide to reporting both the images and the page itself. For our part we will remind Facebook that this content is, for now, still unlawful in Australia. We will encourage them to remove the content and close the page, or at least block Australian access to it. We will also ask them not to restore access to this page, and to the many other racist pages that are currently blocked in Australia, should the Government change the law. Dr Oboler warns:

“Changes to the Racial Discrimination Act could see a tsunami of online cyber-racism flood Australia if platform providers suddenly remove the restrictions that have been added on a case by case basis over the years in response to Section 18C. This hate speech ranges from Aboriginal memes to xenophobia. Its sudden re-appearance could lead to a significant rise in intolerance and could potentially fuel violence.”

The combination of social media and racism is a potent and dangerous mix. The existing law, by making certain acts unlawful, is a valuable tool in maintaining the standards of the Australian community when it comes to our engagement in social media. It’s unlikely the Government appreciates just how valuable a tool it is, but with around 40% of all complaints of racism to the Australian Human Rights Commission last year being Internet related, the loss of this tool will have a very real impact that will swiftly be felt across the community. Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the case of Holocaust denial where we already know Facebook’s position, and we know it does not confirm to the standards of our Australian community. The law must reflect our values, and as a nation we believe is a fair go, not a free pass for racists.

Hate Examples

Below are examples of some of the hateful content from the listed page. You can click an image to view the original Facebook posting. If the link does not display the image as shown, that may mean Facebook has removed it. If the link goes to the image on Facebook, then it is still active and Facebook has not yet removed it.

Deliberately Misleading Content

Deliberately misleading content is used to try to pervert the truth, often claiming some conspiracy by those affected by or otherwise involved with the events in question. In these examples the intent is to mislead viewers regarding the tragedy of the Holocaust, by claiming that events never occurred.


Link to original Facebook image – click to be able to report


Link to original Facebook image – click to be able to report


Link to original Facebook image – click to be able to report

Deliberately Offensive Content

Deliberately offensive content moves beyond mere offence when it is used to demonise and dehumanise members of a particular community. These examples combine Holocaust denial and the negative tropes of Jews being corrupt, evil or greedy.


Link to original Facebook image – click to be able to report


Link to original Facebook image – click to be able to report


Link to original Facebook image – click to be able to report

How to Report the Images

The following is an example of an offensive image on Facebook, along with the means to report it as offensive.

If the link does not display the image as shown, that may mean Facebook has removed it. If the image shows, that means it is still live.

To report the image on Facebook follow these steps:

When you are logged in to Facebook, there will be links underneath images to view, embed or report them.

Example of an offensive image

  1. Click “Report” to display the reporting options for the image.
  2. Select “I think it shouldn’t be on Facebook” and click “Continue”.
  3. Select “Hate speech or symbol” and click “Continue”.
    report3
  4. Check “Submit a report”, as this is not selected by default.
    It is also recommended that you do NOT message the offending party as this may invite them to personal attacks.
    Click “Continue” to post the report.
  5. Click “Okay” to complete the reporting procedure.

How to Report the Page

The following is an example of an offensive page on Facebook, along with the means to report it as offensive.

If the link does not display the page as shown, that may mean Facebook has removed it. If the page shows, that means it is still live.

To report the page on Facebook follow these steps:

When you are logged in to Facebook, there will be links underneath page headers to like, follow, or message the owner of the page. There is also a gear icon to the right of the message button which has a drop down arrow.

The offensive page
(click to open the page)

  1. Click the gear icon to access the reporting option.
  2. Click “Report Page” to display the reporting options for the page
  3. Select “I think it shouldn’t be on Facebook” and click “Continue”.
  4. Select “Hate speech” and click the “Choose a type” drop down.
  5. Select “Targets a race or ethnicity” and click “Continue”.
  6. Check “Report to Facebook”, as this is not selected by default.
    Click “Continue” to post the report.
  7. Click “Okay” to complete the reporting procedure.

Thank you for all your help reporting this hate. One more thing to do, please scroll to the very top and share this using the buttons provided. If Facebook reject your report, please respond by giving them feedback, and by sharing your feedback and a link to this page on your wall. Then more people will get involved and they will know this isn’t going away. You can stay updated on this and other issues of online hate through our Facebook page and Twitter account.

Additional images from the page (for media)

As the page is not currently visible, the following images are provided to assist the media.

Top of the page:

p01Bottom of the page (after 17 screens of hate, which OHPI has archived):

p17

Some further examples of the content:

fbid 584333141648798

fbid 1420506811532678fbid 1422493154667377