Facebook finally announces to take a step to stop hate speech by banning anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying content

This world is full of horrors, and people make things more horrible by either exaggerating about troubling events of the past or by spreading hateful content over social media platforms. This content can target any religious belief system, country, race, or anything else. There is no limit to where human beings can stop trying to torture others. Humans do not have venom like snakes, and yet sometimes they are the most venomous creatures on the earth’s surface.

Holocaust denial is one such issue that has taken its source from several anti-Semitic attempts to deny or distort the facts around the Nazi genocide of European Jews. Holocaust denial or distortion over the internet has always been a major issue that spews prejudice and hatred against Jews.

Facebook has always advocated freedom of speech and expression for everyone on its platform. Holocaust denial has always been a pretty offensive topic for many people out there, and many Facebook pages revolve around this particular issue. However, Facebook never took those pages down, neither did it ever considered it as a problem because of its ‘freedom of speech’ policy. For many years, Facebook has faced severe backlash and criticism over its lenient content moderation policies and for allowing the platform to be a source of spread of hateful content by giving a free hand to Holocaust deniers and Anti-Semitic organizations.

Finally, all that criticism has found its mark as just recently, Facebook has announced that it will be reviewing its hate-speech policy and will prohibit any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust.

The reason why Facebook had to take this decision is the growing number of hate attacks on different online platforms and communities. Facebook wants to rectify its earlier mistake now. Freedom of speech is one thing but controlling offensive and hateful content over its platform becomes an absolute necessity when excessive freedom is given.

The VP of Facebook Content Policy, Monika Bickert has recently shared that the company has banned more than 250 supremacist organizations, militia groups, and QAnon, which are all involved in spreading religious hatred, misinformation, and propaganda around Holocaust. As per her, Facebook has so far taken down more than 22.5 million pieces containing hate content in the Q2 of 2020.

Also, Facebook has shared that the youth of current times does not have any clue about the authenticity of Holocaust denial schemes. So, it is important to control the spread of falsified information now.

Previously, Mark Zuckerberg used to believe that this is a topic about which Facebook should not intervene with whatever is posted on its platform. Even in 2018, he voiced out his thoughts and called Holocaust denial a wrong idea which is deeply offensive, but he still believed that Holocaust-denying content should not be taken down from Facebook because it may hurt the sentiment of many other people as they may get a wrong idea.

After facing an advertiser ban for one month over the #StopHateForProfit campaign, Facebook then took a step to ban anti-Semitic conspiracy theories across Instagram and Facebook app, but still, it did not take an action against Holocaust denial, until just recently when it announced to update its content policy.

Photo: Dado Ruvic / Reuters

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