The Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) released a study on Aug. 17, 2020, titled “Hosting the ‘Holohoax’: A Snapshot of Holocaust Denial Across Social Media.” The study reveals that Facebook and Twitter are full of pages and posts that deny the Holocaust, and Facebook’s algorithm even actively suggests similar content, The Guardian reported.
The study by ISD, an anti-extremism organization based in the United Kingdom, looked at the term Holohoax often used by Holocaust denial communities on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit to examine all anti-Semitic material available on these platforms.
The study revealed that Facebook has at least 36 groups with a combined number of 366,068 followers who deny the genocide of the Jews by the Nazis. While the results with similar content on Twitter were 19,000, YouTube yielded 9,500 videos dating back as much as two years and Reddit 2,300 posts.
Jacob Davey is a senior research manager at ISD. He said to The Guardian, “Denial of the Holocaust is a deliberate tool used to delegitimize the suffering of the Jewish people and perpetuate long-standing anti-Semitic tropes, and when people explicitly do this it should be seen as an act of hatred.”
Davey explained that Facebook’s decision to allow this anti-Semitic content on its platform is to ‘protect the historical debate’ of whether or not it exists, but this in itself is to deny the Holocaust.
Jakob Guhl, research coordinator at ISD said, “Our findings show that the actions taken by platforms can effectively reduce the volume and visibility of this type of anti-Semitic content. These companies, therefore, need to ask themselves what type of platform they would like to be: one that earns money by allowing Holocaust denial to flourish, or one that takes a principled stand against it.”
However, The Guardian article notes that much anti-Semitic content is encoded, with keywords. Hence, it isn’t easy to know the real extent of such content on social media and the internet in general.
Facebook representatives said the company is working to delete publications, pages, and groups that celebrate, defend, or justify the Holocaust.
Republicans have criticized Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube in the United States for their censorship policies. The policies appear to be more effective in targeting conservatives or any content other than the company’s designated official content, such as President Trump posting about a group of doctors who said hydroxychloroquine was effective in treating the CCP Virus.