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Should Facebook Remove Holocaust Denier Pages?

A group of Holocaust survivors is urging Facebook to remove pages on the site that promote the idea that the Holocaust was a hoax -- an assertion that is banned in Europe.

According to NBC News, the survivors, who are affiliated with the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, wrote a letter to Facebook asking that the site not give a forum to Holocaust deniers:

We, the undersigned, are Holocaust Survivors who saw our parents, children and loved ones brutally murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust. We are writing to you to protest Facebook’s policy that categorizes Holocaust denial as “free speech,” rather than the shameless, cynical and hateful propaganda that it is...

Do not permit Holocaust denial any platform on Facebook to preach its inherent message of lies and hate. By allowing this hate propaganda on Facebook, you are exposing the public and, in particular, youth to the anti-Semitism which fueled the Holocaust. Please correct this terrible error in judgment before our generation passes away.

Facebook has dealt with this in the past, but ultimately decided that it did not want to censor anyone’s free speech.

In an email to NBC, Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes wrote:

"At Facebook, one of the toughest questions we face is how to handle the sharing of controversial ideas and opinions on the site. Recently, there has been a focus on groups created to deny the occurrence of the Holocaust. We find these groups to be repugnant and ignorant, just as we object to some of the other ideas expressed on Facebook. 

"We have spent considerable time internally discussing the issues of Holocaust denial and have come to the conclusion that the mere statement of denying the Holocaust is not a violation of our terms.

"We think that there is a meaningful difference between advocating violence against a group of people and expressing an opinion on a policy, set of beliefs, or historical event — even if that opinion is factually wrong, or is outrageous or offensive to most people. However, if the members of the Holocaust denial groups consistently post hateful or threatening comments, we will take the groups down, and we have done so on many occasions."

What do you think? Do you think these groups should be allowed to further their agenda on Facebook?


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