Facebook Urged To Enforce Hate Speech Rules For Holocaust Denial Content

When Facebook created the semi-independent Oversight Board several years ago, it wanted to hand off responsibility for making some of its toughest content moderation decisions. However, the company hasn’t always listened to its own so-called supreme court. Thankfully, the company did follow the advice of the Board this week by cracking down on offensive Holocaust denial content.

The Board’s ruling stemmed from a case in 2020, when an Instagram user posted a meme featuring a Spongebob Squarepants character that included a speech bubble with false claims about the Holocaust. Despite being reported by users multiple times, Facebook never took action, despite this kind of content being banned. However, the Oversight Board accepted the case, and ruled this week that Facebook needed to remove the post. The Board also recommended that Facebook creates a system to keep track of Holocaust denial content and its enforcement of the ban.

For its part, Facebook said that it welcomed the Board’s decision, and that it will reassess how it tackles Holocaust denial content moving forward.

“In accordance with the bylaws, we will also initiate a review of identical content with parallel context,” the social media giant wrote in its case decision. “If we determine that we have the technical and operational capacity to take action on that content as well, we will do so promptly.”

Facebook has given itself wiggle room to ignore the Board’s rulings, but at least the company listened in this instance and made the platform a safer, more enjoyable place.

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