Facebook just announced that it will ban all content that denies or distorts the Holocaust, directing users who interact with said content to verified sources.
Associated Press reports that the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the new policy on Monday. Recently, several notable activists and celebrities, including Sacha Baron Cohen, have warned that Facebook has allowed often dangerous conspiracy theories to propagate on the platform. “With rising anti-Semitism, we’re expanding our policy to prohibit any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust,” Zuckerberg wrote on Monday.
“I’ve struggled with the tension between standing for free expression and the harm caused by minimizing or denying the horror of the Holocaust,” added Zuckerberg. “My own thinking has evolved as I’ve seen data showing an increase in anti-Semitic violence, as have our wider policies on hate speech. 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.”
Back in 2018, Zuckerberg defended the company’s decision to not remove content that doubted, distorted, or outright denied the Holocaust. He said that he didn’t “believe” the social network was obligated to remove such content because he claimed some weren’t intentionally denying the Holocaust. He subsequently issued an apology, writing that he “personally find[s] Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny that.”
The move comes a week after Facebook announced it had banned all QAnon-related accounts from its platforms. “We’re starting to enforce this updated policy today and are removing content accordingly, but this work will take time and will continue in the coming days and weeks,” said Facebook in a press release. “Our Dangerous Organizations Operations team will continue to enforce this policy and proactively detect content for removal instead of relying on user reports.”
QAnon is a movement that has grown considerably throughout Trump’s presidency, with many of its key figures peddling far-flung conspiracy theories. The FBI has labeled the movement as a potential domestic terror threat, although Trump has claimed he knows next to nothing about it except that its members like him “very much.”
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