Haters are having a hard time pumping the socials full of hate, right now. No, their venomous fangs have not gone dry. Social media platforms are starting to enforce their own codes of conduct.
Accountability—it’s not just for breakfast anymore.
F to the B Finally Tells Holocaust Deniers to Shove Off
Monika Bickert, VP of Content Policy at Facebook wrote these words on the company’s blog (published on Monday):
Today we are updating our hate speech policy to prohibit any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust. We have banned more than 250 white supremacist organizations and updated our policies to address militia groups and QAnon. We also routinely ban other individuals and organizations globally, and we took down 22.5 million pieces of hate speech from our platform in the second quarter of this year.
Our decision is supported by the well-documented rise in anti-Semitism globally and the alarming level of ignorance about the Holocaust, especially among young people. According to a recent survey of adults in the US aged 18-39, almost a quarter said they believed the Holocaust was a myth, that it had been exaggerated or they weren’t sure.
There is a range of content that can violate these policies, and it will take some time to train our reviewers and systems on enforcement. We are grateful to many partners for their input and candor as we work to keep our platform safe.
The company’s move reversed a stance by Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, who once defended such posts as examples of content he disagreed with but wanted to leave up to protect free speech.
“I’ve struggled with the tension between standing for free expression and the harm caused by minimizing or denying the horror of the Holocaust,” said Zuckerberg, who is Jewish, in a Facebook post on Monday. “My own thinking has evolved,” he wrote. “Drawing the right lines between what is and isn’t acceptable speech isn’t straightforward, but with the current state of the world, I believe this is the right balance.”
Starting later this year, Facebook will direct people searching for terms associated with the Holocaust or its denial to credible information away from the platform.
Twitter too is done with the nonsense. The platform is also denying the deniers.
“We strongly condemn antisemitism, and hateful conduct has absolutely no place on our service,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement. “Attempts to deny or diminish” violent events are prohibited under Twitter’s hateful conduct policy.
Can A Guy and His Company Evolve?
The move by Facebook is seen with suspicion in some quarters.
“I half-heartedly applaud the move,” says Yael Eisenstat, Facebook’s former head of global elections integrity for political ads, who left the company in 2018. “The fact that Zuckerberg has finally, after years of advocacy from anti-hate groups like the ADL and others, accepted that Holocaust denial is a blatant anti-Semitic tactic is, of course, a good thing. The fact that it took him this long to accept that these organizations had more experience than him and knew what they were talking about is dangerous.”
Dangerous because of Zuck’s immense power. The young man in the hoodie did not want to run a media company, but the Harvard dropout is starting to see that he does indeed run a media company. This is progress.
This Is Not Progress
The survey found that almost two-thirds of young American adults do not know that six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. More than one in 10 believe Jews caused the Holocaust, a new survey has found, revealing shocking levels of ignorance about the greatest crime of the 20th century.
Here’s a fact. All the Jews of Europe were systematically targeted for murder by the Nazi regime because the Nazis considered Jews a ‘mortal threat’ to the German race.
Here’s more historical fact from US Holocaust Memorial Museum historian Edna Friedberg, Ph.D.:
The museum works every day to rescue Holocaust evidence, confront hatred, and prevent genocide. The museum is also active on Facebook.