November 11, 2019

Facebook Says It Will Allow Holocaust Denial

Screenshot from Facebook.

(JTA) — Facebook will still allow users to deny the Holocaust even though it removed prominent bigots and anti-Semites from its platform.

The social media giant deleted the personal, professional and fan accounts of some leading extremists and conspiracy theorists, like David Duke, Louis Farrakhan and Alex Jones, on Thursday. But in a letter from April 9, Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s vice president of global public policy, said the site would still allow users to “say things on Facebook that are wrong or inaccurate, even when they are offensive.”

The letter was obtained by Jewish Insider and published Thursday.

“We take down any content that celebrates, defends, or attempts to justify the Holocaust,” Kaplan wrote. “But we do not remove lies or content that is inaccurate — whether it’s denying the Holocaust, the Armenian massacre, or the fact that the Syrian government has killed hundreds of thousands of its own people.”

Last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated the same policy.

“I’m Jewish, and there’s a set of people who deny that the Holocaust happened,” he told the tech news site Recode. “I find that deeply offensive. But at the end of the day, I don’t believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong …”

Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency at the time that Facebook should not allow denial claims.

“Freedom of the press means the press should be free of governmental control,” she wrote in an email. “It does not mean that the press or social media platforms have to provide space for deniers.”