Holocaust denial on Facebook. (shutterstock/screenshot) shutterstock/screenshot

Anti-Defamation League ranks how the top 10 social media platforms deal with Holocaust Denial, and Facebook got a ‘D’.

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

To mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) put out a report card grading the top social media companies on their efforts, or lack thereof, fighting Holocaust denial on their platforms.

The bad news: nobody got an A.

The ADL found that Twitch is the most responsive platform and has the most robust policies in place for addressing Holocaust denial. Following not far behind were Twitter, YouTube, Roblox and TikTok, which each earned “Cs” for their efforts.

But Facebook and Instagram, two of the world’s biggest social media platforms, along with Discord, Reddit and Steam, only managed abysmal “Ds.”

“In recent years, content denying the Holocaust has appeared on an array of social media platforms, largely because those companies have not been nimble enough or taken the issue seriously,” said the head of the ADL, Jonathan A. Greenblatt.

“While some platforms have finally stepped up their efforts to stop the amplification of denial, others are still struggling to address anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial effectively. This is truly shameful at a time when anti-Semitism conspiracy theories are spreading globally, some outrageously based on the big lie that the Holocaust never happened,” Greenblatt said.

The report card was based on a thorough investigation of the responsiveness of 10 social media platforms to the issue, and graded each based on a series of criteria including: how comprehensive the platform’s policies are in addressing Holocaust denial, how such content appears, and how responsive each was in dealing with the content once it was flagged by anonymous users.

According to the ADL, Twitter and Twitch were the only platforms in the study that took immediate action when Holocaust denial content was reported to them by anonymous users. Other platforms included in the study either maintained that the content did not violate their policies or failed to respond at all.

Hate Speech or ‘Misinformation’?

Denial of the Holocaust has been a longstanding problem on social media, where platforms have taken, at best, an uneven approach in dealing with the issue. Holocaust denial is founded on stereotypes of Jewish greed, malevolence and scheming, and on the belief that Jews are somehow able to force massive institutions — governments, Hollywood, the media, academia — to promote an epic lie.

Last October, after nearly a decade of advocacy work by ADL, Facebook announced that it was changing how its platforms treated Holocaust denial content by recategorizing it as hate speech instead of misinformation.

However, despite that change, Facebook still fails to respond to reports when such hateful content is flagged, earning a “D.”

Despite categorizing Holocaust denial as hate speech, Facebook confirmed after their own internal review process the majority of the content the ADL reported did not violate their community standards.

Unlike Facebook, other platforms have done more extensive work removing Holocaust denial content and redirecting users to credible information about the Holocaust or putting safeguards in place to prevent people from seeing or amplifying such content.

YouTube, for example, directs users who search for “Holocaust denial” or “holohoax” to credible videos that debunk Holocaust denial. TikTok and Roblox do not allow users to search for “holohoax” when trying to search content. Still, all of those platforms earned a “C” for their lack of responsiveness and transparency when such content is reported by users.

A September 2020 survey issued by the Claims Conference found that nearly half of American adults under 40 years old had been exposed to Holocaust denial or distortion on social media.

“This is truly shameful at a time when anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are spreading globally,” Greenblatt said.

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