Facebook’s algorithm promotes holocaust denial, analysis shows

August 23, 2020 by TPS
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Facebook’s algorithm promotes Holocaust denial content, a new analysis by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) has concluded.

ISD, a UK-based counter-extremism organization, published its “Hosting the ‘Holohoax’: A Snapshot of Holocaust Denial Across Social Media” analysis shows how Facebook and Twitter “provide a home to an established and active community of Holocaust deniers.”

While Holocaust denial is present on Reddit, ISD’s research suggests that such activity “has been reduced through a combination of moderation efforts and pushback from other users.”

The report identified 36 Facebook pages and groups, which are either specifically dedicated to Holocaust denial or which host Holocaust denial content.

The pages and groups investigated were ideologically diverse, with 9 hosting extreme-right communities, 7 anti-Zionist communities, 13 conspiracy theorist communities, 5 pro-Palestine communities, one Islamist community and one Christian community.

The Facebook pages and groups have a combined number of followers of 366,068 and an average number of members of 10,168.

ISD also identified 2,300 pieces of content mentioning ‘holohoax’ on Reddit, 19,000 pieces of content on Twitter, and 9,500 pieces of content on YouTube, all created between 1 June 2018 and 22 July 2020.

ISD further found that if one searches for “Holocaust” on Facebook or when a user follows public pages containing Holocaust denial content, Facebook actively promotes further Holocaust denial content to that user.

Earlier this month, a coalition of some 140 organizations from around the world sent a letter to Facebook urging the social media giant to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism to fight hate speech on its platform.

The letter, which was sent to Facebook’s board and senior management on Friday, follows mounting public pressure urging Facebook to effectively act against hate speech and dangerous disinformation.

The missive follows recent remarks given by a senior Facebook representative that the company “does not have a policy aimed at combatting online anti-Semitism.” “Join the ranks of the historians, advocates, activists, lawmakers, and leaders who compiled the IHRA working definition” and “take responsibility and move toward removing the scourge of anti-Semitism from today’s most important online public square,” the letter said.

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