Is Holocaust denial anti-semitic or simply free speech? According to the Online Hate Prevention Institute’s (OHPI) latest report entitled Recognising Hate Speech, Facebook doesn’t actually understand the various forms of anti-semitism and has trouble recognising certain well-known types of anti-semitism.
Although Facebook received the report and has since become quite receptive to OHPI’s recommendations for improving hate-speech oversight, the fight is far from over. Here are a few case studies we’ve flagged as problematic.
1) Facebook Page: Jewish Memes
Facebook refused to remove the Anne Frank meme below, nor the page where it’s from, even after receiving a draft of the OHPI report and having a month to take action.
A Holocaust meme that Facebook does not believe breaches their definition of hate speech
The Jewish Meme page also previously contained this Anne Frank meme:
When asked to remove the offending photo, Facebook provided this generic response: “Thank you for your report. We carefully reviewed the photo you reported, but found it doesn’t violate our community standard on hate speech so we didn’t remove it.”
It took press coverage and complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission from the Executive Council of Australian Jews, for Facebook to finally remove this image. Although the Jewish meme pages still exists they now have a disclaimer “Please refrain from racism or anti-semitism on this page. We will look over any Meme submitted to us in a message.”
OHPI reported a Facebook page titled Shit Jews Never, Ever Say (136 Likes), which promoted offensive content like this:
Were they successful?
Yes! The page was removed by Facebook after they were provided with the initial draft of OHPI’s report.
At the end of the day, it’s important to question whether the admins behind the offensive Facebook groups can protect themselves by warning users of hurtful content in advance…
Facebook page and image for [Controversial Humour] My name is Hitler and I gassed the Jews (3,839 Likes)