Holocaust denial remains on Facebook one year after platform ban, ADL report finds

Holocaust denial content remains on Facebook despite a ban the platform put in place last year, according to a report published Wednesday morning by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). 

The ADL’s Center on Extremism identified posts published before and after the ban Facebook announced in October 2020, and urged the company to take greater action to remove such content. 

Although searches for the term “Holohoax” on Facebook lead to a link with information abut the Holocaust, other terms including “Holocaust Hoax,” “Holocaust fraud,” “so called Holocaust” and “Holocaust didn’t happen,” are searchable and return results, according to a copy of the report shared with The Hill.

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Center on Extremism analysts also reported nine of the “troubling posts” cited in the report on Nov. 15 using a personal account to Facebook to determine the platform’s responsiveness. As of Monday, Facebook only replied to concerns about one of the posts, according to the report.

The post called the Holocaust a fraud and claims “the reason people are questioning, denying and pouring scorn and contempt on the holocaust, is simply because it isn’t true.” Facebook said the post was not in violation of its hate speech policy, according to ADL. 

Other than the nine posts the ADL said it reported to Facebook, the report does not detail how many other posts with content denial it identified on Facebook. 

Aryeh Tuchman, associate director of the ADL’s Center on Extremism, said it is not a quantitative report but rather a look at how Facebook has followed up on its commitment to remove Holocaust denial. 

Although the ADL found Facebook has made strides, there is more work for it to do on this front, Tuchman said. 

A spokesperson for Facebook parent company Meta said in a statement that it has "made substantial progress in fighting Holocaust denial."

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"We're also going further by educating people on Facebook with authoritative information about the Holocaust when someone searches for terms associated with it. We are reviewing the content mentioned in this report and will continue working to keep Holocaust denial off of our platform,” the spokesperson said.

The Meta spokesperson later confirmed to The Hill that all examples identified in the report have been reviewed and removed for violating the company's community standards.

Facebook last year announced the policy change to ban Holocaust denial content under its hate speech policy after years of pressure from the ADL and other groups. 

In January, Facebook announced an update, adding that it would start directing users to credible information about the Holocaust off Facebook if users search for terms associated with either the Holocaust or Holocaust denial.

— Updated at 9:26 a.m.