Facebook must ban Holocaust denial


#1

For weeks, many Holocaust scholars and anti-Semitism experts such as members of the Anti-Defamation League have raised this issue with members of Facebook’s senior management. The stock reply they received included the following:

“We do not remove lies or content that is inaccurate — whether it’s denying the Holocaust, the Armenian massacre or the fact that the Syrian government has killed hundreds of thousands of its own people. This is because we believe that people should be able to say things on Facebook that are wrong or untrue, even when they are offensive.”

But earlier this month, Facebook — along with Apple and YouTube — took down the accounts of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his InfoWars organization. A YouTube spokesperson said, “When users violate … policies repeatedly, like our policies against hate speech and harassment … we terminate their accounts.” Facebook said, about InfoWars, “Upon review, we have taken it down for glorifying violence … and using dehumanizing language … which violates our hate speech policies.”

Because of this contradiction with the way Facebook has dealt with Holocaust denial, the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, the Holocaust Learning and Education Fund, and the 370 worldwide organizational members of the Association of Holocaust Organizations has posted a petition on Change.org, demanding that Facebook no longer allows Holocaust denial misinformation to be posted on its platform.

Thoughts, CAF? I’m a proponent of free speech, though that doesn’t seem to apply to a company like Facebook.


#2

**” I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" **
-Evelyn Beatrice Hall


#3

And this?

Social networks should be places of free and open communication. However, in a civil society, that communication must take place without the goal of spreading hate or false news, or inciting violence. As the title of the Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s 2017 Educators’ Conference stated: “Words matter.” The dangers to humanity are far too great to continue this “ laissez faire ” attitude with social media.

Hatred begins with language. And then it escalates.


#4

I actually don’t agree with this. As I evaluate this description as “no censorship at all.” I’ve already seen what that can look like. And it can get ugly. It doesn’t take a lot if bad actors to disproportionately cause negative experiences for lots of other. I also kind of miss the days when the CAF was moderated more.

Related note, twitter is going to start including “dehumanizing speech” as the type of speech that can be censored.


#5

And yet deniers have outlets through which they can exercise free speech. It’s not the responsibility of Facebook or Twitter to provide that outlet if such members violate their community guidelines.


#6

Where does the line get drawn? What if, instead of this being about holocaust deniers in the US/Uk, it was in Turkey and it was about covering up telling the truth about the Armenian genocide?

In china, for instance, google has catered to the Chinese government and has censored information available via google searches


#7

This is why people are suspicious. When you ban different opinions and censor them and give special treatment to a specific class then it causes people to question the facts.


#8

What about when they decide that pro-life is anti-woman and censor us?


#9

There seems to be a built-in conflict between free speech and social media. The huge number of users can turn social media sites into something more resembling mobs. And mobs rarely use free speech wisely. In addition there are invariably fake accounts, like Russians and Chinese or other agents trying to influence voters.

Anyway, Facebook is a private company and can censor anyone it wants, as can (and does) sites like CAF.

Everyone can have freedom of speech but no one is entitled by nature to a Facebook account.

For myself, I can barely stand to check Facebook. It’s a mish mash. What I like is the printed word, with no videos, no likes, no emoji’s no TMI. Just the facts, ma’am. So, Facebook can do what it wants and it won’t bother me much.


#10

China doesn’t have any form of Constututional Free Speech. I don’t think it’s a good comparison. Any business may be held liable for not obeying to the laws of the land in which they operate.

Speech is contextual and interpretations change over time. There won’t be ever be any clearly defined immutable lines. At best one can make their intentions known and act on them. Depending on context the same phrase can be uplifting and encouraging or insulting and disgusting.

Yeah. I think people conflate their freedom of speech with a (nonexistant) duty for others to assist them with that speech.


#11

So, who decides what is hateful speech?
Do we take a vote? Are rights now determined that way?
An educated society can do two things: 1) evaluate the message of any speech, 2) recognize when free speech turns into calls for violence.


#12

FB is a private company and can determine how their platform is used. My only requirement is they be open about any bias, which they haven’t been.


#13

Who ever happens to be interpreting a picture, message, or interaction hopefully with the assistance of some guidelines. This could mean that there’s some variance from person to person There’s some amount of ambiguity in interpreting human communication even in the real world. Hopefully there’s the possibility of having dialog about a decision to correct mistakes and disagreements on interpretations and intentions when they occur.


#14

Instead of banning speech, ENCOURAGE free speech … let the holocaust survivors and their champions to speak freely.


#15

Those guidelines you speak of are in the First Amendment. As a protected right, speech is not subject to government limits beyond slander and calling for or inciting violence.
As long as I am aloud to respond the Holocaust denier, I will defend their right to speech.


#16

They have free speech. The government isn’t silencing them.


#17

Constitutional Free Speech prevents arms of the government or entities acting on behalf of the government from restricting speech. Social media companies are not the governments or entities acting on behalf of the government.

They still have it. But FB and other’s have no duty to host it.


#18

Yes. I know. I was speaking generally about the right of free speech.


#19

Yes. I already said that. FB is subject to market forces. If people do not like their bias, regardless of what it is, they can vote with their feet.


#20

I think you may be confusing “free speech” and the 1st Amendment. The 1st Amendment restricts Congressional authority to interfere with free speech. Since Facebook isn’t part of the government, it isn’t constrained by the 1st amendment, but it is a “free speech” issue. Entities like Facebook and Twitter claimed to be open platforms, and because of these claims, they were granted special legal privileges. For example, they can’t be held liable for libelous posts on their platform because they aren’t responsible for the content posted on their platforms. Now, if they start taking responsibility for policing content, they could open themselves up to legal liability for slander. Also, there have been some discussions of anti-trust action against the platform.

Then, that makes them no longer “open platforms” and may open them up to legal liability for the content they post. If they’re taking responsibility for the content they allow, then they may become a content provider rather than an open platform which opens them up to Congressional regulation.

The problem is that Facebook, Twitter, etc. have become have become virtual monopolies in social media. Setting up a competing service is something that sounds good in theory, but is next to impossible in practice.


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