Facebook under fire over Holocaust denial

Facebook is under fire for its position that Holocaust denial is acceptable content on the platform. OHPI’s CEO,Dr Andre Oboler, was interviewed live on Radio Sputnik in Moscow where he explained that Facebook’s position is about a decade old, what’s changed is that the world is no longer willing to accept it.

Listen to the interview:

The issues of Facebook’s “policy” on Holocaust denial goes back to 2008, but it was Randi Zuckerberg, then a senior executive of Facebook (and yes, Mark’s sister) who first described it as a policy back in 2009. She’s now all over the media promoting herself as a Jewish leader and saying she supports Facebook’s position. Trying to use Jews to defend its position on allowing Holocaust denial is not new to Facebook either. Back in 2009 they argued that they had consulted their Jewish staff and on that basis felt their policy was ok. 

Facebook is no longer a private company with under 50 million users like it was in 2008, it’s now a listed company with 2.2 billion active users. It’s time to let this bad policy go the way of their ban on pictures of breastfeeding mothers (the infamous nipple ban which they dropped in 2014) and the way of their policy against removing incitement to hate against refugees (which they changed in 2015, accepting that as a form of hate speech under pressure from Germany).

At the Online Hate Prevention Institute we have been providing leadership in this area since we were founded in 2012, and our CEO has been working in this space for over a decade. The early background to Facebook’s position on Holocaust denial is explored in his 2009 paper on “Facebook, Holocaust Denial, and Anti-Semitism 2.0“. In 2011 as a co-chair of the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism he co-led a meeting and exchange of correspondence with Facebook on this matter, and as can be seen from Facebook’s 2011 letter for the company very little has changed.  OHPI has also conducted a major empirical investigation into Holocaust denial on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter in 2015/2016, and we maintain an archive of our content on Holocaust denial in social media. Our CEO currently serves as part of the Australian Government’s delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

For examples of Holocaust denial content currently on Facebook and YouTube, see:

You can visit and report this content to the companies, if you do, leave a comment letting us know.

To give you an idea of the content, and to archive it in case Facebook now take some action on these, the first link is not someone “making a mistake” it is a page dedicated to denial. It includes links to videos by some of the most well known Holocaust deniers. It includes instructions for people to abuse Facebook to give 1 star ratings to the award winning Jewish Holocaust Center, the Holocaust museum in Melbourne (Australia).

The second link is the same story:

While we have done a lot in this space, despite exciting plans to move forward in this space, it’s very difficult to get funding for such critical work, and as a result the work has slowed. If you would like to support our work and help us raise the level of activity, you can make a donate at: https://ohpi.org.au/donate/ Please note that we are an independent charity and not part of any other organisation. Donations made to others will not support our work, only donations made directly to us will do that. Donations may be made by anyone, but they are only tax deductible for Australian tax payers.

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Note that antisemitic comments will be removed. You can see some of what we have had to remove in this new briefing.