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Facebook to ban Holocaust denial content

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Facebook said it will ban Holocaust denial content, but cautioned it will take time to train staff to find and root out the problematic posts
Facebook said it will ban Holocaust denial content, but cautioned it will take time to train staff to find and root out the problematic posts

Facebook announced Monday that it will ban content that denies or distorts the Holocaust, describing the move as its latest effort to free the platform of hate.

The social media giant, which has long been criticized for not doing enough to disempower Holocaust deniers and other hate groups, said it would redirect users who search for terms about the Holocaust or its denial "to credible information off Facebook," according to a company statement.

"Our decision is supported by the well-documented rise in anti-Semitism globally and the alarming level of ignorance about the Holocaust, especially among young people," said a statement by Facebook vice president of content policy Monika Bickert.

Bickert cited a survey that showed almost a quarter of young adults in the United States saying the Holocaust was a myth or had been exaggerated.

Bickert described the steps on Holocaust denial content as part of its stepped-up effort to address hate after the company earlier banned more than 250 white supremacist groups, took down 22.5 million pieces of hate speech in the second quarter and banned anti-Semitic stereotypes.

She cautioned that the change will take time.

"Enforcement of these policies cannot happen overnight," Bickert said. "There is a range of content that can violate these policies, and it will take some time to train our reviewers and systems on enforcement."

Facebook's move was applauded by Anti-Defamation League Chief Executive Jonathan Greenblatt, who called the action "a big deal."

"This has been years in the making," Greenblatt said on Twitter. "Glad it finally happened."

jmb/cs