Facebook will delete messages denying or distorting the Holocaust. The social media platform will also refer users seeking information about the massacre of Jews by the Nazis to authoritative sources.
It is the next in a series of measures the company is taking to counter the spread of conspiracy theories and disinformation. For example, the company recently banned messages from the popular American conspiracy theory QAnon. More than 250 organizations that express racist messages have now been removed from the platform.
Also, as a precautionary measure, political advertisements are temporarily not allowed after polling stations for the US presidential elections close on November 3.
‘Increase in anti-Semitism worldwide’
Facebook writes that the new policy “is supported by the worldwide rise in anti-Semitic and alarming ignorance about the Holocaust, especially among young people.”
CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he has thought about the decision for a long time. “I’ve grappled with the tension between free speech and the damage caused by denying the horrors of the Holocaust. I’ve been rethought by data showing that anti-Semitic violence has increased.”
The platform says it will immediately start deleting such posts from Facebook and Instagram. However, it may take some time before enforcement of the ban is in order. For example, employees who are going to enforce must be trained.
Denial of the Holocaust is a criminal offense in the Netherlands and many other countries. Facebook already removed messages denying the Holocaust in these countries under the law.