Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, published a scathing criticism of Facebook this weekend for refusing to take down a Facebook page called “Jewish Ritual Murder.” The page propagates the ancient allegation that Jewish people murder Christian children to use their blood for ritual sacrifices. Obviously this is untrue, but Facebook’s community standards allow for material like that to remain on the site.
Facebook has long had a difficult-to-define stance on hateful speech. The site allows “ignorant and untrue material about people and events” on its pages, but it does not allow content that directly attacks people based on race, religion and a host of other factors.
“We do not believe that Facebook intends to send a message that it is insensitive to the enormous harm the blood libel has caused throughout Jewish history,” Foxman wrote. “The easiest way for the company to make that clear would be to exercise the discretion it certainly has to remove the page.”
The problem, as Facebook has said in the past, is that the site is massive, making it extremely difficult to police all content on its pages. Still, while the site’s dedication to freedom of speech is admirable, they should take a closer look at removing instances of hate speech like this one.