Facebook ‘promoting Holocaust denial content’ to hundreds of thousands of users, shock report warns
FACEBOOK has been accused of promoting Holocaust denial and fascist content.
A shocking report has claimed the social media giant’s algorithm treats the content as a “debate over facts” and not anti-Semitism.
Facebook has been accused of promoting anti-Semitic content in a new report[/caption]
The report says the Holocaust denial pages and posts are being “actively recommended” to users.
The Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) conducted the investigation and thinks the content needs to be recognised as hate speech.
Researchers used a keyword commonly used by Holocaust deniers to find 28 Facebook groups and eight pages that contained anti-Semitic content.
The groups and pages had around 370,000 followers in total.
The report states: “From clicking through to these pages, Facebook’s recommendation algorithm led ISD researchers to further Holocaust denial pages.
“Facebook also appears to promote content on the extreme right to those demonstrating an interest in Holocaust denial content.
“The platform recommended to researchers to visit Australian pages supportive of Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British Union of Fascists, and the works of a fascist Italian philosopher.”
Pages about British Holocaust denier David Irving were also recommended to users.
One of the pages claimed it was conducting a “scientific investigation of historical events”.
Of all the pages found in the investigation, 13 were dedicated to conspiracy theories, nine were said to be ideologically far-right and seven were anti-Zionist.
Others were said to be Islamist, Christian right and pro Palestinian.
The report said Facebook was treating these groups as if they were debating facts rather than being anti-Semitic.
It said: “This perception ignores the fact that Holocaust denial is a form of anti-Semitic hate speech, as well as a form of disinformation.
“Holocaust denial has long been one of the most insidious conspiracy theories targeting Jewish communities.
“This speech seeks not only to minimise the suffering of Jews during the Holocaust, but to mitigate criticism of Nazism and justify ongoing attacks against the Jewish people.
“Due to the intimate intersection between Holocaust denial and hate targeting Jews, such content should be regarded as inherently anti-Semitic.”
It also accused Twitter of “providing a home to an established and active community of Holocaust deniers”.
The ISD found anti-Semitic content was being reduced on platforms like Reddit and YouTube.
Facebook said that it does not take down content for being “untruthful” but does remove Holocaust denial content in places like Germany where it is illegal.
A Facebook spokesperson told us: “We take down any post that celebrates, defends, or attempts to justify the Holocaust.
“The same goes for any content that mocks Holocaust victims, accuses victims of lying, spews hate, or advocates for violence against Jewish people in any way.
“We also remove Groups and Pages that discuss Holocaust denial from recommendations and references to it in search predictions.
“While we do not take down content simply for being untruthful, many posts that deny the Holocaust often violate our policies against hate speech and are removed.
“In countries where it is illegal, such as Germany, France and Poland, this content is not allowed in accordance with the law.
“Striking the right balance between keeping people safe and allowing free speech is difficult and we know many people strongly disagree with our position.
“We are constantly developing and reviewing our policies and consulting with organisations around the world to ensure we’re getting it right.”
The report comes after rapper Wiley was banned from Facebook and Twitter for anti-Semitic posts.
Facebook’s biggest cyber-security mistakes
Here’s some of the major times Facebook let us down…
- In 2007, Facebook’s first targetted advertising product, Beacon, caused outrage because there was initally no opt-in option about the kinds of information users wanted to share
- In 2009, a Federal Trade Commission investigation was triggered because Facebook users complained that the new privacy tools were too confusing and pushed users to make more of their personal information public
- In 2010, it was revealed that advertisers were using a privacy loophole to retrieve revealing personal information about Facebook users and the company had to change its software
- In 2011, the FTC charged Facebook with lying to customers about how their information could be kept private but making it public anyway
- 2018 saw Facebook’s biggest privacy scandal to date with reports that Cambridge Analytica misused user data and Facebook had to admit that it had failed to protect its users
Most read in Phones & Gadgets
In other news, Facebook messenger has started to merge with Instagram chat.
Facebook has been accused of illegally harvesting facial recognition scans of users.
And, Instagram has launched its TikTok competing feature “Reels” in over 50 countries.
Have you ever been shocked by content on Facebook? Let us know in the comments…
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science team? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org