The Institute for Strategic Dialogue’s research reportedly resulted in the discovery of “at least 36 Facebook groups with a combined 366,068 followers”, either dedicated to Holocaust denial or which host such content.
An algorithm employed by social media giant Facebook “actively promotes” content related to the denial of Holocaust, The Guardian reports citing a research conducted by a UK-based “counter-extremist” group called Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD).
According to the newspaper, the group’s investigation revealed that searching for “holocaust” on Facebook yielded “suggestions for denial pages” which then recommended “links to publishers which sell revisionist and denial literature”; ISD also discovered “at least 36 Facebook groups with a combined 366,068 followers”, either dedicated to Holocaust denial or which host such content.
“Facebook’s decision to allow Holocaust denial content to remain on its platform is framed under the guise of protecting legitimate historical debate, but this misses the reason why people engage in Holocaust denial in the first place”, said Jacob Davey, ISD’s senior research manager. “Denial of the Holocaust is a deliberate tool used to delegitimise the suffering of the Jewish people and perpetuate long-standing antisemitic tropes, and when people explicitly do this it should be seen as an act of hatred”.
The group also reportedly discovered Holocaust denial content being “readily accessible” on other social media platforms as well, having identified “2,300 pieces of content mentioning ‘holohoax’ – a term often used by deniers – on Reddit, 19,000 pieces on Twitter and 9,500 pieces of content on YouTube”, with all that content being created “in the past two years”.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Facebook said that they “take down any post that celebrates, defends, or attempts to justify the Holocaust”, and that “any content that mocks Holocaust victims, accuses victims of lying, spews hate, or advocates for violence against Jewish people in any way” is treated similarly.
“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”, they said.
They also noted that the content in question “is not allowed in accordance with the law” in the countries where it is illegal.
“Striking the right balance between keeping people safe and allowing free speech is difficult and we know many people strongly disagree with our position”, the spokesperson remarked. “We are constantly developing and reviewing our policies and consulting with organisations around the world to ensure we’re getting it right.”