Yad Vashem Lauds Facebook’s Classifying of Holocaust Denial as Hate Speech

13 October, 2020   |   2 weeks ago

Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, welcomed Facebook’s announcement that it updated its hate speech policy to prohibit all forms of Holocaust denial and distortion on its platform.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post on Monday that “with rising anti-Semitism, we’re expanding our policy to prohibit any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust as well. If people search for the Holocaust on Facebook, we’ll start directing you to authoritative sources to get accurate information.”

“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,” he said.

“Yad Vashem has long stated that Holocaust denial and distortion are forms of anti-Semitism and should be classified as hate speech,” the organization state.

In a recent letter to Zuckerberg, Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev indicated that anti-Semitism is not simply identifiable by keywords, phrases or algorithms but requires human understanding and sensitivities in recognizing and banning such posts.

Shalev further wrote how “education is a vital way of fighting Holocaust distortion and anti-Semitism.”

Accordingly, Yad Vashem supports Facebook’s initiative of directing its users to credible and fact-based content sources, such as Yad Vashem’s comprehensive website in eight languages, as a significant step in the right direction.

“We encourage Facebook to do its utmost and implement these new policies, which we hope, in time, will help fight against all forms of anti-Semitism, hatred and bigotry, which plague us both on and off line,” stated Director of Yad Vashem Communications Division Iris Rosenberg.