| USA TODAY
Holocaust survivor gets diploma decades later
Miriam Schreiber’s education was disrupted by the Holocaust. Decades later, she’s receiving a long overdue honorary high school diploma.
Facebook said Monday it is abolishing content that “denies or distorts” the Holocaust, marking a reversal of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s controversial stance from two years ago.
The social media giant said the move “marks another step in our effort to fight hate on our services” and comes amid a “well-documented rise in anti-Semitism globally and the alarming level of ignorance about the Holocaust, especially among young people.”
During the Holocaust, which was perpetrated by Nazi Germany during World War II, about 6 million Jews and millions of others were systematically killed, including LGBTQ individuals and people living with physical disabilities.
Facebook has been under pressure from critics to take a more aggressive stance against harmful and unwarranted conspiracy theories, like Holocaust denial, and other misinformation circulating on the platform. The company said earlier this month that it is banning pages that promote the extremist conspiracy group QAnon from its platform.
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The move to ban content denying the Holocaust comes more than two years after Zuckerberg defended Facebook’s decision not to remove such posts.
“I’m Jewish, and there’s a set of people who deny that the Holocaust happened,” Zuckerberg told Recode tech journalist Kara Swisher at the time. “I find that deeply offensive. But at the end of the day, I don’t believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong.”
On his Facebook account Monday, Zuckerberg alluded to his earlier statements.
“I’ve struggled with the tension between standing for free expression and the harm caused by minimizing or denying the horror of the Holocaust,” he wrote. “My own thinking has evolved as I’ve seen data showing an increase in anti-Semitic violence, as have our wider policies on hate speech. Drawing the right lines between what is and isn’t acceptable speech isn’t straightforward, but with the current state of the world, I believe this is the right balance.”
He noted that the company has “long taken down posts that praise hate crimes or mass murder, including the Holocaust” and said the company would soon begin directing people who search for information regarding the Holocaust to trustworthy external sources.
At one point, “many” Holocaust deniers were “were overt white supremacists and Nazi sympathizers,” but “now Holocaust denial appears to have become more widespread,” according to the Anti-Defamation League, which reported in July that such content “appears across” Facebook, “including in both public and private groups specifically devoted to the topic.”
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.