World Jewish Congress welcomes Meta Oversight Board decision on Holocaust denial content

January 24, 2024 by J-Wire
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Meta’s Oversight Board is to address Holocaust denial content more seriously on its platforms, Facebook and Instagram.

Yfat Barak-Cheney, director of Technology and Human Rights at the World Jewish Congress, said: “The World Jewish Congress welcomes the decision of Meta’s Oversight Board to overturn the company’s original stance on an Instagram post containing false and misleading claims about the Holocaust. This decision, which aligns with the board’s stated commitment to combat hate speech, is a significant step toward acknowledging and addressing the continued presence of Holocaust denial on Meta’s platforms.

The Oversight Board’s findings on the ineffectiveness of Meta’s current moderation systems in identifying and removing Holocaust denial content is troubling. We have long advocated for more rigorous enforcement of policies against hate speech, and this decision underscores the need for Meta to enhance its capabilities and strategies in this critical area.

Holocaust denial is not just a distortion of history; it is a blatant form of antisemitism that leads to discrimination and undermines the memory of the millions who suffered. We strongly support the board’s recommendation for Meta to implement technical measures ensuring the systematic and accurate enforcement of its Holocaust denial policies.

We call upon Meta to use this decision as a catalyst for change, adopting a more consistent and granular approach in monitoring and enforcing its hate speech policies. The World Jewish Congress will continue to work with platforms like Meta to create a safer, more respectful online environment. We look forward to seeing Meta’s response to these recommendations and the steps it will take to address these critical issues.”

In Australia, The Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Peter Wertheim told J-Wire: “There is still far too much antisemitic content on Meta platforms, but this decision will set a precedent that will be fed into Meta’s AI programs for deleting hate speech automatically. That is an important step forward.  This decision is also personally satisfying because in February 2019, I was invited to participate in the sessions held by Meta to design the Oversight Board, and it seems to be having a real effect.

Since the decision, I have spoken to the Director of Policy for Facebook in Australia and New Zealand and suggested that the Oversight Board’s ruling should also logically apply to online content that denies the Hamas atrocities on October 7, the worst atrocity against Jews since the Holocaust. This is now under consideration.”

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