Facebook hosts Holocaust denial pages

October 11, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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The Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI) has released a new briefing exposing three Holocaust denial pages on Facebook.

Dr Andre Oboler

Dr Andre Oboler

All three pages are popular with people aged 25 to 34 with Brisbane, Dublin and London having the highest following.

Dr Andre Oboler, OHPI’s CEO, told J-Wire that, “It’s disappointing to see Holocaust denial becoming popular with this particularly age group. These are people who grew up in a time when there were more survivors alive and first hand testimony was readily available. It’s particularly disappointing to see an Australian city listen amongst those most active is supporting Holocaust denial. Australia has one of the largest Holocaust survivor communities in the world and this will be particular distressing to those survivors and their children and grandchildren.”

The briefing provides examples of the antisemitic content fund on the three Holocaust denial pages as well as instruction to help people report the pages. “We encourage everyone to report the pages, but we are telling people not to be surprised when Facebook rejects their reports”, Dr Oboler warned. As he explained to J-Wire readers in the lead up to Yom Kippur:

Facebook’s current position on Holocaust denial is that “the mere statement of denying the Holocaust is not a violation of our policies”. They justify this by treating the Holocaust not as a unique tragedy in human history, but as just another historical event, and they say they won’t prohibit Holocaust denial because they “recognize people’s right to be factually wrong about historic events”.

Facebook is the largest social media company on the planet and the only one that permits Holocaust denial as matter of policy while rejecting hate speech in general. Dr Oboler told J-Wire that, “If their position was that they valued free speech above protecting the community from hate speech, we might disagree but say we respect their position. Singling out Holocaust denial as a form of hate speech the company explicitly permits is a very different situation.”

The OHPI briefing provides live links to the antisemitic content on the three pages as well as detailed instructions Facebook users can follow to report the content. The pages and their antisemitic content are all visible in Australia, although Dr Oboler warns that Facebook has blocked access from some countries where Holocaust denial has been criminalised.

Dr Oboler called on the Attorney General to again make it clear that Holocaust denial is a breach of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act is unlawful in Australia. He suggested that the increasing activity of groups that deny the Holocaust, like Squadron 88 and Hizbut Tahrir, would make such an announcement timely.

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