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Facebook will begin removing Holocaust denial, after pressure from Jewish groups

Facebook updated its hate speech policy to ban content that “denies or distorts” the Holocaust, the platform announced Monday.

“I’ve struggled with the tension between standing for free expression and the harm caused by minimizing or denying the horror of the Holocaust,” said CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a statement on Facebook. “My own thinking has evolved as I’ve seen data showing an increase in anti-Semitic violence, as have our wider policies on hate speech.”

Facebook said its decision is related to growing antisemitism around the world and a recent survey that found that almost a quarter of American adults under the age of 39 believed that the Holocaust was a myth, that it was exaggerated or they weren’t sure.

Facebook has been a consistent home for Holocaust denial for years. A report from a think tank published in August found 36 Facebook groups, with hundreds of thousands of members, that actively posted Holocaust denial.

The report found that Facebook not only did not remove Holocaust-denying posts, but recommended them to people who had viewed similar content in the past.

Facebook has responded in recent weeks to pressure to work harder to combat hate speech on the platform. The most visible pressure has come from the Anti-Defamation League, which encouraged advertising boycotts against the platform over the summer. The World Jewish Congress has worked more closely with Facebook executives to try and shape their policies.

Facebook announced a new policy last week about banning QAnon accounts, but experts say there will be a delay in enforcement that could be harmful.

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