Facebook said Monday that it is working to update its anti-hate speech policy to block any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust.
The move comes two years after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, in 2018, during an interview with the technology website “Recode”, that he found Holocaust denial extremely offensive, but he does not believe that Facebook should delete such content.
“I have made strenuous efforts to reconcile support for freedom of expression with the harm caused by the minimization or denial of the Holocaust,” Zuckerberg, who is Jewish, said in a post on Facebook today.
“My thinking developed when I saw data showing an increase in violence due to anti-Semitism. And our broader policies against hate speech also evolved.”
Facebook said that, starting late this year, it will direct those searching for terms related to the Holocaust or its denial to reliable information away from Facebook.
The World Jewish Congress and the American Jewish Committee praised the decision.
“For years, the World Jewish Congress has called on Facebook to remove Holocaust denial content from its platform,” the conference said in a statement.
This summer, civil rights groups staged a massive boycott of Facebook ads in an effort to pressure social media companies to take action against hate speech on their platforms.
“I’m glad that at the end,” Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, one of the organizers of the boycott campaign, said on Twitter.
And in August, Facebook banned some anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and stereotypes.
Facebook said in a post on its blog today that it cited a recent survey that found that nearly a quarter of adults in the United States between the ages of 18 and 39 said they believed the Holocaust was a myth that was exaggerated, or that they were not sure it happened.
“These policies cannot be implemented overnight,” she added.
She added, “There is a set of content that can violate these policies, and it will take some time to train the auditors and systems to implement them.”