July 20, 2018
Australian Jewish leaders have lambasted Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg for allowing Holocaust denial to be a protected form of speech on Facebook.
Zuckerberg defended the rights of Facebook users to publish Holocaust denial posts, saying he didn’t “think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong”.
Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abramovich denounced Mr Zuckerberg’s remarks — made to website Recode — as “profoundly disappointing and troubling”. “The agents of this vicious and deliberate assault on the truth should not be provided with a welcome mat and platform on the world’s most popular social networking website to preach hate, to gain legitimacy for their sickening lies and to attract new members to their cause,” Dr Abramovich said.
“By allowing these despicable pages to stay, Facebook is contributing to the social acceptability of racism and is enabling the flourishing of a long, and bone-chilling campaign of dehumanisation and incitement that has led to the extermination of millions.
“I have no doubt that Holocaust deniers are smiling, empowered by the knowledge that they can continue to exploit this new technology to demonise Jews, to label survivors as hoaxers, and to keep inflicting grief and suffering on the victims. The Nazis would have found much to like in the way Facebook has allowed hatred to invade its reputable space.”
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff said: “The Holocaust was the most thoroughly documented genocide in history, documented by the perpetrators themselves. There have been thousands of trials in which the magnitude of Nazis war crimes was placed on the public record. For anyone to suggest Holocaust denial is not pernicious or malicious is simply mind-boggling. Facebook has a responsibility to uphold community standards, which means not giving a platform to those who spread lies and bigotry.”
Sydney Jewish Museum chief executive Norman Seligman said: “Holocaust denial is not another version of fake news: it’s hate speech and anti-Semitism.”
Facebook is struggling to clamp down on misinformation and fake news after Russian-backed groups spread propaganda on the platform.