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According to the company’s announcement, later this year it will begin referring users seeking information regarding the Holocaust and also those who turn to information about Holocaust denial, to “responsible information” coming from negative sides.
The company made the decision against the backdrop of “the well-documented rise in anti-Semitism around the world and the alarming level of ignorance about the Holocaust, especially among young people,” Monica Bickert, Facebook’s vice president of content policy, wrote in her blog today.
In practice, the decision was made after a harsh and prolonged criticism leveled against Facebook in the matter by a number of organizations and activists. For example, the British Institute for Strategic Dialogue, which works to eradicate extremism and extremist discourse, found in a study that Facebook’s algorithm actively promotes the content of Holocaust deniers.
According to the study’s authors, a search for content in keywords such as ‘Holocaust’ or ‘Holohoax’ has made suggestions in the form of pages or groups of Holocaust deniers of various kinds, who publicly post links to external sites on the subject or refer to sources distributing books or “studies” of famous Holocaust deniers. Such as the British David Irving.
In her blog, Bickert clarified that later this year she will start referring users who are looking for information about the Holocaust and also those who turn to information about Holocaust denial, to “responsible information” that comes from negative sides. She further noted that only recently has Facebook banned the use of antisemitic stereotypes, “about the cultural power of the Jews, and who describe them as managers of the world or its important institutions.”
Birkert also referred in the blog to a recent survey of Americans aged 39-18, which examined the level of knowledge about the Holocaust. Almost a quarter of the participants believed that the Holocaust was or a myth that included exaggerations, that they were not sure had happened at all. 63% of the respondents in the survey did not know that six million Jews perished in the Holocaust, under the Nazi regime. 36% of the participants thought that the number of those who died was 2 million or less.
The responses to the Facebook post were not long in coming. Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the European Rabbinical Conference, welcomed the change in the social network’s policy: “We are pleased to see that the social network Facebook has decided to stand on the right side of history, changing its procedures to delete any Holocaust denial or distortion content posted on its platform. This step is important and significant in the war against anti-Semitism and manifestations of hatred towards Jews around the world. “
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