Facebook removes two Holocaust denial sites


SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — Facebook has removed two groups promoting Holocaust denial.

The development on Monday came despite a spokesman for the popular social networking Web site suggesting last week that the site would only ban groups that deny the Holocaust in countries where it is a criminal offense, such as Israel and Germany.

Members of the two banned groups — titled “The Holocaust is a Holohoax” and “Based on Facts … There Was No Holocaust” — were using Facebook as “a forum to promote hate,” said the spokesman, Barry Schnitt.

However, several other Holocaust denial groups, including “Holocaust: A series of lies” and “Holocaust is a myth,” remain on the popular site.

“We are monitoring these groups, and if the discussion among members degrades to the point of promoting hate or violence, despite whatever disclaimer the group description provides, we will take them down,” Schnitt said.

The decision to remove the two groups came after a sustained campaign led by a U.S. attorney, Brian Cuban, brother of Dallas Mavericks team owner Mark Cuban, who has argued since last year that the presence of these groups contravenes Facebook’s terms of use.

Facebook’s terms state that any of its users can be banned if they post “any content that we deem to be harmful, threatening, unlawful, defamatory, infringing, abusive, inflammatory, harassing, vulgar, obscene, fraudulent, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable.”

Other critics accuse Facebook of double standards: It has banned pictures of mothers breastfeeding babies because of nudity, but has not fully clamped down on race hate.

The site recently removed a group titled “Isle of Man KKK” following complaints, Schnitt said.

Facebook, whose CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is Jewish, was launched in 2004 and has an estimated 200 million users.


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