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How to fight Holocaust denial in social media with the evidence of what really happened – The Conversation US

Posted By on December 4, 2020

One in four American millennials believe the Holocaust was exaggerated or entirely made up, according to a recent national survey that sought to find out what young adults know about the genocide of nearly 6 million Jews at the hands of Nazis some 80 years ago.

That startling statistic was cited as one of the main reasons that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg decided in October to finally ban Holocaust denial across the social network. Denying the Holocaust ever happened is an enduring form of anti-Semitic propaganda that attempts to deny or minimize the atrocities committed by the Nazis against the Jews during World War II.

Following Facebooks lead, Twitter announced it, too, would remove any posts that denied the history of the Holocaust, though CEO Jack Dorsey appeared to contradict that policy at a Senate hearing weeks later.

Holocaust deniers have continued to emerge in social media, and perhaps predictably, many have migrated to less restrictive sites like Parler, where hashtags like #HolocaustNeverHappened and #HolocaustIsALie are widespread. If you want Holocaust denial, hey, Parler is going to be great for you, Bill Gates recently said of the social network.

While some tech companies address the rise in Holocaust revisionism, and others leave the door open, social networks have played an unwitting role in helping to distort the memory of these horrific events. But as a scholar who studies online extremism, I believe that same community could do more to protect Holocaust remembrance by highlighting the digitized accounts of those who lived through it.

Holocaust denial has been a tool of anti-Semitic movements since the 1960s. Pseudo-academic groups like the Institute for Historical Review, for example, spent years working to distort the publics aging memory of the Holocaust, which took place between 1933 and 1945.

They tried to cast doubt on the feasibility of the mass executions, and even the existence of the gas chambers. They held annual conferences and gathered fellow deniers to share their beliefs that these events were conjured up by the Jewish people mostly as a means to justify the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

For decades, most people quickly discarded those claims, because they had heard the firsthand accounts of the survivors who were sent to the camps and witnessed the daily operation of genocide and murder of family members. The allegations of the deniers could also not withstand the accounts of soldiers who liberated the camps and made the terrible discoveries of body-filled crematoriums and mass graves.

But for deniers, Holocaust revision has little to do with history. Denialism is really a pretext for delivering anti-Semitism in the form of scholarship, although few academics ever gave it such attention. So hate groups had to find other means of circulation. They found it online.

When the internet took off in the late 1990s, Holocaust deniers and countless other conspiracy theorists saw an opportunity to spread their ideas to new audiences. Anti-Semitic groups could now publish their distortions in well-visited forums, and later in faux-informational websites like Metapedia and The Occidental Observer extremist communities, in fact, that collectively receive some 350,000 visitors each month.

The internet also gave Holocaust deniers an opportunity to reach a much wider public through social media. As early as 2009, Facebook groups emerged that were dedicated to debunking the Holocaust, as #Holohoax became a popular hashtag on Twitter, which it continues to be today. Reddit also became a far-right haven for Holocaust deniers, one of whom gained national attention when he was the invited guest of a Florida congressman to the 2018 State of the Union address.

For deniers, the internet helped repackage their conspiracy into something less recognizable than hate. Ive long studied this process, which I call information laundering, tracking illegitimate forms of information, like Holocaust denial, that flow through social networks, blogs and search engines. There they intermix with mainstream ideas and slowly become washed of their radical origins.

This decadeslong campaign has resulted in the current surveys that show nearly a quarter of young adults are misinformed or skeptical about the Holocaust. Only now, few survivors are left to correct the record. That makes it even more important to spread the truth. Perhaps the internet can help.

When Gen. Dwight Eisenhower visited the Buchenwald concentration camp in 1945, after its liberation by U.S. forces, he realized how impossible it might be for people to believe the scale of Nazi atrocities. He wrote powerfully of the experience, and of his reasons for going to see it in person:

The things I saw beggar description. In one room, where they were piled up twenty or thirty naked men, killed by starvation, George Patton would not even enter. I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the near future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to propaganda.

Eisenhowers words are instructions for future generations. They underscore the need to be a witness to human cruelty in order to protect the memory of, and lessons learned from, these events from those who would try to distort them.

Back online, it may not be enough for social networks to ban Holocaust denial. Similar bans in Europe havent limited the rise of anti-Semitism there. Instead, social networks could follow Eisenhowers example by answering the falsehoods of Holocaust deniers with the true stories of survivors.

The internet is already home to thousands of digitized survivor testimonies. They include oral histories that could be readily activated by social networks to refute those who deny the existence of the gas chambers with the accounts of those who stood inside them or witnessed them at work. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit might share the firsthand stories of the Nazi persecutions, separations at the camps or rare reunions, wherever false claims arise, to counter denials with facts.

In the spirit of that counternarrative, I will place my grandmothers story here. She was a Holocaust survivor. She later wrote about her experiences in Auschwitz, where, upon arrival, she and her sister were separated from their mother and her sisters son, never to see them again. There are millions of other experiences like hers, and survivors of other genocides whose stories must be retold as well, from Armenia to Rwanda.

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Holocaust deniers have long waited for the time when there were no remaining survivors or witnesses to keep these histories alive. But the internet is a powerful archive. Social networks have an opportunity to combat hateful disinformation by posting the personal stories of these tragedies, and end the so-called debate about whether the Holocaust ever happened.

As Eisenhower well understood, history needs protecting.

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How to fight Holocaust denial in social media with the evidence of what really happened - The Conversation US

Chautauqua Institution joins Holocaust Memorial Museum for ‘The Tehran Children’ – Olean Times Herald

Posted By on December 4, 2020

MAYVILLE Chautauqua Institution and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum will jointly present an online program titled The Tehran Children: Irans Unexpected & Suppressed Connection to the Holocaust.

The two-part program is inspired by Mikhal Dekels 2019 memoir, Tehran Children: A Holocaust Refugee Odyssey. Dekel will participate in each segment of the 90-minute presentation, to stream live beginning 7 p.m. Tuesday on the Institutions CHQ Assembly video channel.

A finalist for the 2020 Chautauqua Prize, Tehran Children tells the little-known story of the of the more than one million Polish Jews who fled the Nazis by traversing the Soviet Union, and in particular nearly 1,000 children who were evacuated to Iran.

Dekels late father, Hannan Teitel, was one of these Tehran Children; the book is the culmination of her decade-long journey to understand the 13,000-mile odyssey at the core of his young adulthood an experience which he never talked about, though it informed every aspect of his being.

The program is part of the Museums Sardari Project, with IranWire.com. Today, Irans leaders actively suppress and deny Holocaust history and spread antisemitic propaganda and conspiracy theories. As a result, Iranian citizens are largely unfamiliar with their countrys role during World War II.

The first segment of the Dec. 8 program will be a panel discussion exploring Irans role in this lesser-known Jewish refugee rescue and how this discovery has the power to shape identity and transform the perspective of young Iranians.

Dekel will be joined in conversation by Arash Azizi, a journalist with IranWire and former international editor of Kragozaran, an Iranian daily newspaper, and author of the new book The Shadow Commander: Soleimani, US, and Irans Global Ambitions. The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Edna Friedberg, a historian with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The second segment will feature Dekel in conversation with Chautauqua Institution Director of Literary Arts Sony Ton-Aime on the power of the storyteller, how history and current events shape the writers identity and perspective, and, specific to Dekels life, how new knowledge has informed one Holocaust descendants identity.

Today, we think of the Iranian regimes Holocaust denial and antisemitism, but there is also a rarely told story about the Iranian people welcoming Jewish refugees during WWII, said Sara J. Bloomfield, director of the Holocaust Memorial Museum. Exploring lesser-known aspects of this history can challenge our assumptions, which is what good education does.

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Chautauqua Institution joins Holocaust Memorial Museum for 'The Tehran Children' - Olean Times Herald

Twitter, Facebook to update hate speech moderation | TheHill – The Hill

Posted By on December 4, 2020

Social media giants Twitter and Facebook are working on plans to update how they handle hate speech on their platforms after mounting scrutiny from civil rights groups.

Twitter is expanding its hateful conduct policy to prohibit language that dehumanizes people on the basis of race, ethnicity, or national origin, the company announced Wednesday.

Posts with such language may be removed from Twitter if reported, and users who repeatedly break the rule may have their accounts temporarily locked or suspended.

The update expands the companys hateful conduct policy, which previously included prohibiting language that dehumanizes others on the basis of religion or caste, as well as on the basis of age, disability or disease.

Facebook is also updating how it handles hate speech online, a company spokesperson confirmed to The Hill.

The companyis overhauling its algorithm that detects hate speech as part of a project first reported by The Washington Post on Thursday.

Facebook has stopped using proactive technology to find a small subset of attacks against white people, Americans and men over the past several months. Hate speech directed at those groups will still be removed if it is reported, according to the company.

Facebook has now made updates to focus its proactive detection technologies on hate speech that is considered the most serious.

The new system, known as the WoW project, involves reengineering Facebooks systems to improve detecting and deleting hateful language considered the worst of the worst, including slurs directed at Black people, Muslims, people of more than one race, the LGBTQ community and Jews, according to the Post,citing internal documents reviewed by the newspaper.

As part of the overhaul to assess the severity of hate speech, Facebook reportedly assigned numerical scores weighted based on perceived harm, allowing the system to prioritize policing certain forms of hate speech, the Post reported.

We know that hate speech targeted towards underrepresented groups can be the most harmful, which is why we have focused our technology on finding the hate speech that users and experts tell us is the most serious, Facebook spokeswoman Sally Aldous said in a statement to The Hill. Over the past year, weve also updated our policies to catch more implicit hate speech, such as content depicting Blackface, stereotypes about Jewish people controlling the world, and banned Holocaust denial.

The project is still in its early stages, the Post reported.

Civil rights groups who have been pushing for the social media platforms to better address hate speech said the companies plans to update hate speech moderation are long overdue and may still be inadequate solutions.

This is progress, but Twitter demonstrated a consequential lack of urgency in implementing the updated policy before the most fraught election cycle in modern history, despite repeated warnings by civil rights advocates and human rights organizations, Color of Changes vice president Arisha Hatch said in a statement.

Hatch also said Twitter has adopted a non-committal and cavalier attitude toward transparency, and has failed to detail how content moderators are trained and how efficient Twitters artificial intelligence is at identifying dehumanizing content.

The jury is still out for a company with a spotty track record of policy implementation and enforcing its rules with far-right extremist users. Void of hard evidence the company will follow through, this announcement will fall into a growing category of too little, too late PR stunt offerings, Hatch added.

Hatch told the Post she did not know about Facebooks proposed overhaul, but after reviewing the documents on behalf of the newspaper she said it is confirmation of what weve been demanding for years, an enforcement regime that takes power and historical dynamics into account.

Sum of Us, an advocacy group, also said Facebooks proposed changes do not go far enough in terms of content regulation. The group also addressed Facebook'sannouncement Thursday that it will remove false claims about the coronavirus vaccine.

"Facebook is well aware of the harm it causes by allowing some of the most vile content to be promoted through its algorithms. Their latest move to more aggressively police anti-Black hate speech and false claims about COVID-19 vaccines shows that they have the ability to clean up their act if they want to, Sum of Us executive director, Emma Ruby-Sachs said in a statement.

But the platform still needs to take more responsibility across the board to regulate how quickly it allows harmful disinformation to spread, and well keep putting pressure on them until they do so, Ruby-Sachs added.

Updated at 12:23 p.m.

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Twitter, Facebook to update hate speech moderation | TheHill - The Hill

Publishers are not obliged to give bigots like Jordan Peterson a platform – The Guardian

Posted By on December 4, 2020

Jordan Peterson, the Canadian psychology professor and lobster-loving life coach who came to public attention after refusing to use the preferred pronouns of transgender people, has a new book coming out, and some staff at Penguin Random House Canada, were reportedly not pleased with the companys decision to publish it. When the publisher announced that it would be bringing out Petersons Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life (a sequel to his 2018 bestseller 12 Rules for Life), management received dozens of complaints from staff. At a company town hall meeting, some employees were reportedly in tears as they described how Peterson had radicalized people in their lives.

Predictably, the staff who complained were criticized as over-sensitive and excessively woke. The Telegraph suggested that intolerant social justice warriors were trying to censor Peterson. Commentator Maajid Nawaz said that it showed an insidious danger facing our culture now that book publishers want to ban books. Reasons Robby Soave said that militantly woke staffers at these places are determined to suppress viewpoints they disagree with. I am sure Peterson himself was thrilled, believing it had proven his point about snowflake leftists, in addition to bringing exactly the desired advance publicity for his book.

Its not reasonable to claim that employees who object to publishing Peterson are censorious. A publisher is not a Kinkos. Penguin Random House rejects far more books than it accepts, and it does not treat all points of view equally. It does not publish works of Holocaust denial or phrenology. It has standards, and its reasonable for employees to argue that Peterson does not meet those standards. After all, he has suggested that gay marriage might be a plot by cultural Marxists, that women wearing makeup in the workplace is sexually provocative, that trans women arent women because theyre not capable of having babies, that women cannot handle truth, and that transgender activists are comparable to mass-murdering Maoists. He peddles debunked scientific theories and dangerously dodgy diets. I have gone through his work myself and shown that he is a crackpot, whose writing is devoid of basic reasoning and full of wild unsubstantiated claims. When Pankaj Mishra wrote a critical review of Petersons work in the New York Review of Books, Peterson called Mishra a prick and said hed slap [Mishra] happily. The things he says are often false, prejudiced and dangerous. What possible obligation does a publisher have to publish the ravings of bigots?

Believing that a prestigious publisher should not give such a person a contract is not the same as believing that they should be punished for speaking, or that they should not have access to the internet, a printer, or the marketplace. Its important to make this distinction clear, because many conservative claims about being censored actually just amount to demands that their opinions be elevated far beyond their worth that evidence-free, bigoted speech be given any prestigious platform it demands, with criticism seen as proof that the critics are intolerant. (Andrew Sullivan, for instance, resigned from New York magazine in a huff after his colleagues expressed discomfort about his flirtations with white supremacism and race science. They didnt demand the magazine stop publishing him, but just being criticized was enough for him to bolt, claiming a hostile environment.)

There is no problem, then, with staff arguing that Petersons work is not worth the companys imprimatur. The real problem is that this doesnt happen enough, that publishers are amoral and bring out books on the basis of whether they will sell rather than whether they have social value. The staff revolt against Peterson is a very rare instance of a publishing company being criticized on moral grounds for its choices. After all, war criminal Henry Kissinger has published with Penguin Random House and Macmillan. People responsible for the atrocity of the Iraq war like George W Bush and John Bolton have brought books out with major publishers, even though the human toll of their decision-making is far greater than that of Jordan Peterson.

We should hope for more revolts like the one against Peterson, and the one that occurred when Simon & Schuster dropped racist provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. Of course, there are strategic calculations, because a huge part of the conservative brand is the feigning of persecution. If book contracts are canceled, rightwingers will claim that they are being silenced for expressing disagreement, when the truth is that private parties are simply declining to financially reward noxious views. The best solution is for publishers to not offer contracts to war criminals and transphobes in the first place, but this is unlikely to occur, because profit-seeking companies find it hard to turn down bestsellers. (We will soon see whether any of the Big 5 publishers can resist the windfall that would come from publishing Donald Trumps presidential memoir.)

I find the arguments about censorship particularly bizarre because Im a publisher myself. I run a small magazine, and every week we get dozens of submissions, most of which we reject. We have conversations all the time about which opinions are worth putting our brand on, and nobody has yet claimed to have been censored because their article wasnt accepted by our publication. If Jordan Peterson or Henry Kissinger submitted an essay, it would be rejected. And yes, it would be because we disagreed with the opinion we dont publish arguments we find morally debased and poorly reasoned, by people whose views we do not wish to promote as sensible and worth listening to. Ill fight for the free speech rights of both men, but nobody has a human right to a lucrative book contract without regard for whether their opinions are sound or valuable.

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Publishers are not obliged to give bigots like Jordan Peterson a platform - The Guardian

Facebook said It would ban holocaust deniers. Instead, its algorithm provided a network for them – The Next Web

Posted By on December 1, 2020

Last month, Facebook announced a crackdown: The platform would no longer permit content that denies or distorts the Holocaust as part of its larger policy prohibiting hate speech.

While noting that successful enforcement could take time, Monika Bickert, Facebooks vice president of content policy, explained the ban in a blog post. Our decision is supported by the well-documented rise in anti-Semitism globally and the alarming level of ignorance about the Holocaust, especially among young people, she wrote.

But as of mid-November, The Markup has found, numerous Facebook pages for well-known Holocaust denial groups remain active and for users who find the pages, Facebooks algorithms continue to recommend related content, effectively creating a network for pushing anti-Semitic content.

Facebook has long struggled to tamp down on quick-traveling misinformation and shape-shifting conspiracy groups, but many of the discriminatory pages The Markup found either belonged to groups with a long history of prominence within the Holocaust denial movement or directly referenced well-known anti-Semitic or white nationalist memes, making them seem like obvious targets for Facebooks crackdown.

Its unclear whether Facebook considers the posts and groups The Markup found unacceptable. The company did not announce how it would define Holocaust denialism, and the company did not respond to multiple requests for comment; all the pages and posts referenced in this article were still active as of Nov. 23 at 5p.m. ET.

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None of the organizations tied to the Facebook pages mentioned in this story responded to The Markups request for comment.

The Markup relied on the judgments of outside organizations that monitor hate groups to identify Holocaust denial groups. And while some pages were explicitlike the Holohoax talesothers were more subtle and shied away from explicitly mentioning the Holocaust.

For example, the Institute for Historical Review (IHR) has a Facebook page with more than 1,300 followers, despite being identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a pseudo-academic organization that claims to seek truth and accuracy in history, but whose real purpose is to promote Holocaust denial and defend Nazism.

The group also has a Twitter account, despite that companys similar ban on Holocaust denial.

Twitter spokesperson Ian Plunkett told The Markup that the account is not currently in violation of our policies.

Recent posts on the groups Facebook page include a link to an episode of the Institute for Historical Reviews podcast attacking the post-WWII Nuremberg trials for being unfair to the German officials who were found guilty of committing war crimes. The host of that podcast, Mark Weber, is described by the SPLC as having probably done more than any other American to popularize denial of the World War II Holocaust of European Jews.

Another post links to an article listing Jewish donors who gave the largest amount during the 2020 U.S. election cycle. And another consisted of a link to a Guardian article about how most young people in the U.K. were unaware of many specifics of the Holocaust, adding a string of astonished-face emoji. Comments on the post attacked Jewish people for supposedly trying to assert victimhood as a result of the Nazi regimes genocidal ambitions.

Holocaust denial, whether on Facebook or elsewhere, is most effective when the deniers mix enough factual material into their arguments to confuse readers (including content moderators) or obfuscate their core beliefs, said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Others have become adept at communicating with codewords to avoid detection by content moderators. This underscores the importance of high-quality training for both human moderators and detection algorithms.

In a box on the side of the IHR page, Facebook has suggestions for other related pages that users might find interesting. Facebook routinely recommends groupsbut in this case, the algorithmically derived suggestions potentially serve as a direct vector for radicalization.

Facebook, for instance, points visitors to IHRs page to another Facebook group, called CODOH Revisionist Forum, short for Committee for Open Debate on the Holocast. In a 2010 report, the Anti-Defamation League said that groups mission was to disseminate Holocaust denial to students on college campuses.

Visitors to the CODOH page would find a link to a blog entry titled Holohoax Tales on the organizations website. And Facebook users may also encounter additional recommendations for pages to visit on the platform, including Castle Hill Publishers, which the SPLC lists as another active Holocaust denial group and which has deep ties to CODOH. From there, Facebook recommended a fan page for Ernst Zndel, a neo-Nazi who died in 2017 who was notable both for his Holocaust denial and his authorship of a book titled The Hitler We Loved and Why. From the Zndel page, Facebook recommended a group named after the white nationalist white genocide conspiracy theory, which charges that a shadowy cabal of Jews is actively working to destroy the White race by encouraging race-mixing.

And the chain of recommended pages continues, leading users further and further into a web of discriminatory content. While many of these pages in this algorithmically created network focus on anti-Semitism, some of the recommended pages promote hate against other groups, like African Americans.

Page recommendations on Facebook do vary from user to user, but these related-page recommendations appeared both when The Markup visited them directly while logged into a reporters personal account and when the page was captured through a direct, not-logged-in visit by the third-party web archiving tool Archive.Today.

Unfortunately, Holocaust denial has been a serious problem that ADL has been flagging for Facebook for more than a decade, Greenblatt said, while also noting that Facebook has removed some anti-Semitic pages after announcing the ban. The good news is that they are finally taking action, but clearly much more needs to be done to effectively identify and remove this form of blatant antisemitism on their platform.

Facebook initially resisted banning Holocaust-denying content

In a 2018 interview, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg told Recode that, while he didnt agree with those saying the Holocaust never happened, he didnt feel it was his companys job to remove that content from his platform.

I find that deeply offensive. But at the end of the day, I dont believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong, Zuckerberg said.

Facebooks stated reason for the policy change stemmed from concerns about how public ignorance about the Holocaust related to the prevalence of anti-Semitism.

Institutions focused on Holocaust research and remembrance, such as Yad Vashem, have noted that Holocaust education is also a key component in combatting anti-Semitism, Bickert wrote at the time.

The post also noted that, beginning later this year, Facebook will start directing users to factual information about the Holocaust when they search for terms related to the event or terms associated with Holocaust denial. Those information boxes have yet to appear on any of the Holocaust denial pages The Markup identified in this story.

This article was originally published on The Markupby Aaron Sankin and was republished under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.

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Facebook said It would ban holocaust deniers. Instead, its algorithm provided a network for them - The Next Web

Facebook banned Holocaust denial but it’s still easy to find – The Jewish News of Northern California

Posted By on December 1, 2020

As of Wednesday afternoon, one of the first results in a Facebook search for Holohoax a termpopularwith Holocaust deniers was a post decrying Zionist White Jewish Supremacist Child murdering Apartheid State, Talmudic Satanic Holohoax promoters.

Right below it was a video, posted by a group with more than 6,000 followers, captioned Research: Holohoax and Jew world order.

These results showed up six weeks after Facebookannouncedthat it was banning Holocaust denial and distortion across its platforms, including Instagram.

When it made the announcement, the company pledged that it would direct users to resources that provide credible information about the Holocaust. Those resources have yet to appear on the site.

In contrast, similar resources do appear on searches for the QAnon conspiracy theory, which Facebook announced it would ban approximately one week before announcing the ban on Holocaust denial. And QAnon groups appear to have been removed after that announcement.

Its not just Holohoax. A page for the Institute for Historical Review, a Holocaust-denying organizationmasquerading as an academic center, is active and has more than 1,000 likes as of Wednesday afternoon. A recent post on the page links to an article titled, Israels power is unlimited. A post from earlier this month laments the great loss of life and terrible suffering endured by the German people during the Second World War.

A box on the side of that page labeled Related Pages directs users to several pages that either deny the Holocaust or spew blatantly antisemitic rhetoric. The Institute for Historical Review group and its related pages were first reported by the tech publication The Markup.

One, with 531 likes, is called Goy Lives Matter and features a stream of blatantly antisemitic posts and links. One example is a link to a website purporting to give information about the The Jewish Ethnic Cleansing Of Europeans. Goy, a Hebrew term that means non-Jew, has been appropriated by white supremacists.

Another far more popular page, with more than 11,000 likes, is called Open Borders for Israel, a trolling phrase that has become a slogan among white supremacists. The slogan implies that Jews are hypocritical because white supremacists believe Jews are trying to flood America with non-white immigrants, but Israel does not have a liberal immigration policy.

A version of the pages logo includes Pepe the Frog, a cartoon appropriated by white supremacists. One of its posts is a meme featuring a visibly Jewish man saying America is a nation of immigrants and then, when someone asks him why Israel doesnt absorb refugees, responding, Youre being antisemitic. Another post featuring a picture of Harvey Weinstein saying, Israel wont need to open its borders to the world to let Weinstein in. It only lets Jews in.

The pages and posts and others like them show that more than a month after it pledged to remove content that denies or distorts the Holocaust, Facebook has yet to do so. The persistence of Holocaust denial on Facebook underscores the challenge social media giants face as they try to fulfill recent pledges to root out hate and misinformation from their platforms.

Spokespeople for Facebook, as well as a Jewish organization thats working with it on these issues, say the social media giant is working hard to implement the policy. But they caution that it will take more time to refine artificial intelligence tools and create training materials for human moderators that can assist in recognizing Holocaust denial.

A spokesperson for Facebook said the company catches the vast majority of hate speech on the platform. The spokesperson told JTA that the company has 15,000 people reviewing content to monitor for hate speech and other violations. According to the companys data, Facebook detects 95 percent of hate speech posts before users report them. And another recent reportby the company says that from July to September, hate speech accounted for only 10 or 11 out of every 10,000 times someone viewed content on Facebook. (Given the billions of users Facebook has, that still results in a potentially enormous number of people viewing hate speech.)

Detecting hate speech is not only a difficult challenge, its an evolving one, the spokesperson wrote. A new piece of hate speech might not resemble previous examples because it references a new trend or some new news story. Weve built new tools so they can scale to future challenges as well as present ones. With more flexible and adaptive [artificial intelligence], were confident we can continue to make real progress.

The spokesperson said the company has no further information on when or how it will direct users to credible external materials about the Holocaust. Facebook likewise said it would not detail its training materials or criteria for determining what constitutes Holocaust denial, out of concern that that would allow bigots to game the system. Facebooks Community Standards likewisedo not specifywhat counts as Holocaust denial or distortion.

Facebook has been more active on enforcing at least one other recently announced policy. On Oct. 6, six days before it banned Holocaust denial, Facebook banned groups and pages promoting QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy theory with antisemitic overtones. Just 15 days later, the company announcedthat it had put links in place to credible information that users now see when they search for QAnon. No such links exist, as of yet, regarding Holocaust denial.

That Facebook is banning Holocaust denial at all is itself a major shift. Two years ago, Mark Zuckerbergtold the tech publication Recode that he saw Holocaust denial as a lack of knowledge as opposed to an intentional expression of antisemitism. I dont believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong, he said.

Zuckerbergs statement sparked an outcry among Holocaust scholars. Earlier this year, a coalition of civil rights groups led by the Anti-Defamation League and NAACP organized aboycott of Facebook adsthat grew to include more than 1,000 companies.

Now, in the face of that activism as well as studies showing thatantisemitism is risingwhileknowledge of the Holocaust is decreasing, Facebook has done an about-face. The company now views Holocaust denial as willful antisemitism. And before announcing the ban on Holocaust denial, Facebook said it had banned more than 250 white supremacist groups.

Denying the Holocaust is not just getting your facts wrong, Monika Bickert, Facebooks head of global policy management, said in avideo interviewlast month with the World Jewish Congress. We know that Holocaust denial is used as a way to actually attack and stoke hatred against Jewish people.

Yfat Barak-Cheney, an official at the World Jewish Congress who has worked closely with Facebook on the Holocaust denial policy, said she believes the company is sincere about banning Holocaust denial. She expects the policy to be fleshed out, at the soonest, in a few months, and says her organization is in near-daily consultation with Facebook about it.

I think its a bit early to make these reports and look into this, said Barak-Cheney, the World Jewish Congress director of international affairs. The announcement is there. Its not something they are trying to avoid doing. They are very serious about it. Theyre definitely dedicating resources to it.

As the election season heated up earlier this year and public pressure mounted on tech companies to confront hate and misinformation, several large social media sites announced bans on conspiracy theories or different forms of bigotry.

Earlier in the year, along with banning QAnon, Facebook also said it wascracking down on other antisemitic conspiracy theories. TikTok bannedwhite supremacist content in October. YouTubebannedQAnon in October as well. In response to the stepped-up action against hate groups, many far-right activists moved their center of activity to Telegram, an encrypted messaging and social media app, and more recently to Parler, which bills itself as a social network without restrictions on speech.

In October, Twitter alsosaidit would be banning Holocaust denial though two weeks later, Twitter CEO Jack Dorseytold a Senate hearing, regarding Holocaust denial, that we dont have a policy against that type of misleading information.

And Facebooks policies dont always result in blocking haters from the site. According to a recentreportby two groups that monitor extremism, Facebook and Instagram directly host neo-Nazi networks with over 80,000 followers, some of whom use the site to see merchandise. After the report was covered in theGuardian, Facebook said it removed the neo-Nazis.

For too long Facebook has chosen to respond to hate on their platform only when there is enough public outcry over it, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatttweetedabout the report. Case in point: Facebook knowingly hosted this neo-Nazi network for years.

But Barak-Cheney said that the problem was one she expected Facebook to tackle. While she doubts that Facebook will be able to detect all Holocaust denial, she expects the platform to find and prohibit most of it.

Its hard to detect, and it changes all the time, she said. All of it is going to be hard, but its not going to be a static policy.

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Facebook banned Holocaust denial but it's still easy to find - The Jewish News of Northern California

Facebook’s ban has done little to rid the platform of Holocaust denial – Haaretz.com

Posted By on December 1, 2020

As of Wednesday afternoon, one of the first results in a Facebook search for Holohoax a termpopularwith Holocaust deniers was a post decrying Zionist White Jewish Supremacist Child murdering Apartheid State, Talmudic Satanic Holohoax promoters.

Right below it was a video, posted by a group with more than 6,000 followers, captioned Research: Holohoax and Jew world order.

These results showed up six weeks after Facebookannouncedthat it was banning Holocaust denial and distortion across its platforms, including Instagram.

When it made the announcement, the company pledged that it would direct users to resources that provide credible information about the Holocaust. Those resources have yet to appear on the site.

In contrast, similar resources do appear on searches for the QAnon conspiracy theory, which Facebook announced it would ban approximately one week before announcing the ban on Holocaust denial. And QAnon groups appear to have been removed after that announcement.

Its not just Holohoax. A page for the Institute for Historical Review, a Holocaust-denying organizationmasquerading as an academic center, is active and has more than 1,000 likes as of Wednesday afternoon. A recent post on the page links to an article titled, Israels power is unlimited. A post from earlier this month laments the great loss of life and terrible suffering endured by the German people during the Second World War.

A box on the side of that page labeled Related Pages directs users to several pages that either deny the Holocaust or spew blatantly anti-Semitic rhetoric. The Institute for Historical Review group and its related pages were first reported by the tech publicationThe Markup.

One, with 531 likes, is called Goy Lives Matter and features a stream of blatantly anti-Semitic posts and links. One example is a link to a website purporting to give information about the The Jewish Ethnic Cleansing Of Europeans. Goy, a Hebrew term that means non-Jew, has been appropriated by white supremacists.

Another far more popular page, with more than 11,000 likes, is called Open Borders for Israel, a trolling phrase that has become a slogan among white supremacists. The slogan implies that Jews are hypocritical because white supremacists believe Jews are trying to flood America with non-white immigrants, but Israel does not have a liberal immigration policy.

A version of the pages logo includes Pepe the Frog, a cartoon appropriated by white supremacists. One of its posts is a meme featuring a visibly Jewish man saying America is a nation of immigrants and then, when someone asks him why Israel doesnt absorb refugees, responding, Youre being antisemitic. Another post featuring a picture of Harvey Weinstein saying, Israel wont need to open its borders to the world to let Weinstein in. It only lets Jews in.

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The pages and posts and others like them show that more than a month after it pledged to remove content that denies or distorts the Holocaust, Facebook has yet to do so. The persistence of Holocaust denial on Facebook underscores the challenge social media giants face as they try to fulfil recent pledges to root out hate and misinformation from their platforms.

Spokespeople for Facebook, as well as a Jewish organization thats working with it on these issues, say the social media giant is working hard to implement the policy. But they caution that it will take more time to refine artificial intelligence tools and create training materials for human moderators that can assist in recognizing Holocaust denial.

A spokesperson for Facebook said the company catches the vast majority of hate speech on the platform. The spokesperson told JTA that the company has 15,000 people reviewing content to monitor for hate speech and other violations. According to the companys data, Facebook detects 95% of hate speech posts before users report them. And another recentreportby the company says that from July to September, hate speech accounted for only 10 or 11 out of every 10,000 times someone viewed content on Facebook. (Given the billions of users Facebook has, that still results in a potentially enormous number of people viewing hate speech.)

Detecting hate speech is not only a difficult challenge, its an evolving one, the spokesperson wrote. A new piece of hate speech might not resemble previous examples because it references a new trend or some new news story. Weve built new tools so they can scale to future challenges as well as present ones. With more flexible and adaptive [artificial intelligence], were confident we can continue to make real progress.

The spokesperson said the company has no further information on when or how it will direct users to credible external materials about the Holocaust. Facebook likewise said it would not detail its training materials or criteria for determining what constitutes Holocaust denial, out of concern that that would allow bigots to game the system. Facebooks Community Standards likewisedo not specifywhat counts as Holocaust denial or distortion.

Facebook has been more active on enforcing at least one other recently announced policy. On October 6, six days before it banned Holocaust denial, Facebookbannedgroups and pages promoting QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy theory with anti-Semitic overtones. Just 15 days later, the companyannouncedthat it had put links in place to credible information that users now see when they search for QAnon. No such links exist, as of yet, regarding Holocaust denial.

That Facebook is banning Holocaust denial at all is itself a major shift. Two years ago, Mark Zuckerbergtold the tech publication Recodethat he saw Holocaust denial as a lack of knowledge as opposed to an intentional expression of anti-Semitism. I dont believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong, he said.

Zuckerbergs statement sparked an outcry among Holocaust scholars. Earlier this year, a coalition of civil rights groups led by the Anti-Defamation League and NAACP organized aboycott of Facebook adsthat grew to include more than 1,000 companies.

Now, in the face of that activism as well as studies showing thatanti-Semitism is risingwhileknowledge of the Holocaust is decreasing, Facebook has done an about-face. The company now views Holocaust denial as willful anti-Semitism. And before announcing the ban on Holocaust denial, Facebook said it had banned more than 250 white supremacist groups.

Denying the Holocaust is not just getting your facts wrong, Monika Bickert, Facebooks head of global policy management, said in avideo interviewlast month with the World Jewish Congress. We know that Holocaust denial is used as a way to actually attack and stoke hatred against Jewish people.

Yfat Barak-Cheney, an official at the World Jewish Congress who has worked closely with Facebook on the Holocaust denial policy, said she believes the company is sincere about banning Holocaust denial. She expects the policy to be fleshed out, at the soonest, in a few months, and says her organization is in near-daily consultation with Facebook about it.

I think its a bit early to make these reports and look into this, said Barak-Cheney, the World Jewish Congress director of international affairs. The announcement is there. Its not something they are trying to avoid doing. They are very serious about it. Theyre definitely dedicating resources to it.

As the election season heated up earlier this year and public pressure mounted on tech companies to confront hate and misinformation, several large social media sites announced bans on conspiracy theories or different forms of bigotry.

Earlier in the year, along with banning QAnon, Facebook also said it wascracking downon other anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. TikTokbannedwhite supremacist content in October. YouTubebannedQAnon in October as well. In response to the stepped-up action against hate groups, many far-right activists moved their center of activity to Telegram, an encrypted messaging and social media app, and more recently to Parler, which bills itself as a social network without restrictions on speech.

In October, Twitter alsosaidit would be banning Holocaust denial though two weeks later, Twitter CEO Jack Dorseytold a Senate hearing, regarding Holocaust denial, that we dont have a policy against that type of misleading information.

And Facebooks policies dont always result in blocking haters from the site. According to a recentreportby two groups that monitor extremism, Facebook and Instagram directly host neo-Nazi networks with over 80,000 followers, some of whom use the site to see merchandise. After the report was covered in theGuardian, Facebook said it removed the neo-Nazis.

For too long Facebook has chosen to respond to hate on their platform only when there is enough public outcry over it, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatttweetedabout the report. Case in point: Facebook knowingly hosted this neo-Nazi network for years.

But Barak-Cheney said that the problem was one she expected Facebook to tackle. While she doubts that Facebook will be able to detect all Holocaust denial, she expects the platform to find and prohibit most of it.

Its hard to detect, and it changes all the time, she said. All of it is going to be hard, but its not going to be a static policy.

Read the original:

Facebook's ban has done little to rid the platform of Holocaust denial - Haaretz.com

Fury as Amazon Alexa spreading antisemitic conspiracies that Jews run the world and Holocaust denial – The Sun

Posted By on December 1, 2020

AMAZON has been accused of spreading antisemitic conspiracy theories by several British MPs.

The politicians claim Amazon Alexa smart speakers are blurting out hate speech and have called for immediate action.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Against Antisemitism wrote a letter to Amazons UK chief demanding something be done about the antisemitic comments they uncovered.

The letter states: "Answers to enquiries provided by these services are presented as authoritative and factual, and so carry credibility, with many considering them truthful.

"We were appalled, therefore, to find that the Alexa voice service offers messages from antisemitic websites and conspiracy theories, using selective quotes and misleading sources in answer to a number of questions about Jewish people, the Holocaust and antisemitism."

MPs who have signed the letter include Andrew Percy, Catherine McKinnell and Dr Lisa Cameron.

1

It has been tweeted in full on the APPG Twitter account.

The letter gives several examples of Alexa quoting from unreliable sources and Holocaust denying websites.

When asked "Do Jews control the media?", Alexa reportedly responded: "Heres something I found from the article Jew Watch on Wikipedia: Jew Watch claims that Jews control the worlds financial systems and media."

The MPs asked Amazon to address the issue regarding antisemitism now and in the long term.

The letter explains that the Home Secretary has been informed.

It adds: "We will be contacting the police, so that they might take a view on any breaches of communications or racial incitement legislation."

An Amazon spokesperson told us: "Anti-Semitism and discrimination of any kind is unacceptable. Alexa pulls from a variety of sources to respond to questionswe are investigating this and have blocked the responses reported."

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We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science team? Email us at tech@the-sun.co.uk

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Fury as Amazon Alexa spreading antisemitic conspiracies that Jews run the world and Holocaust denial - The Sun

Facebook announced It would prohibit holocaust deniers. Rather, its algorithm donated a network for them – Stanford Arts Review

Posted By on December 1, 2020

Last month, Facebook made an announcement: The platform will no longer allow content that rejects or distorts the Holocaust as part of its larger policy prohibiting hate speech.

Noting that successful enforcement can take time, Monica Bickert, Facebooks vice president of content policy, explained the ban in a blog post. Our decision is supported by a well-documented increase in anti-Semitism globally and an alarming level of ignorance about the Holocaust, especially among young people, she wrote.

But as of mid-November, The Markup has found, many Facebook pages remain active for well-known Holocaust denial groups and for users who search the pages, Facebooks algorithms continue to recommend related content, effectively Lets create a network to push the opponent. material.

Facebook has long struggled to crack down on quick-travel misinformation and sizing-up conspiratorial groups, but many discriminatory pages were found by Markup to either be directly related to groups with a long history of prominence within the Holocaustial movement. Well-known anti-socialist or white nationalist meme, he seems like a clear target for Facebooks crackdown.

It is unclear whether Facebook considers the posts and groups Markup found unacceptable. The company did not announce how it would define the Holocaust denial, and the company did not respond to multiple requests for comment; All the pages and posts referenced in this article were still active. 23 November at 5 pm. ET.

Here is the original post:

Facebook announced It would prohibit holocaust deniers. Rather, its algorithm donated a network for them - Stanford Arts Review

Gen Z’s Perception of the Holocaust | Eli Yissar Josefson | The Blogs – The Times of Israel

Posted By on December 1, 2020

By now, I am sure that everyone reading this article knows about TikTok, the social media platform that has taken the world by storm. The platform is all about sharing videos and trying to get featured on the For You recommendations page for other users, in order to receive more views. This results in the video makers fifteen seconds of fame. Creators have taken this in various directions: some have chosen the comedy route, others have tried to show off their talents (dancing in particular), and others have been accused of using their looks to gain followers. Regardless of the way it started, many people have become so concerned with obtaining their fifteen seconds of fame that some stopped thinking some of their decisions through.

Over the past few months, there have been several trends, which catch on and are recreated by thousands of TikTok users. Many of these trends are innocent and entertaining, but one that does not fit either of those adjectives is the Holocaust trend. This trend involved people dressing up as Holocaust victims (wearing yellow stars, striped shirts, and creating bruises with their makeup), some even used the backdrop of a Nazi concentration camp, and others pretended that they were in heaven and told their Holocaust story. Some TikTokers pretended to die in their showers, and some acted as if they were walking towards a gas chamber. Needless to say, many people on this platform were appalled by the trend and called out some of the people who made these videos. Although this trend is no longer in play it is important to talk about how we, as a Jewish community, can respond to such uploads.

After the backlash, many people came out to say that they created these videos in order to reach out to the younger generation and educate them about the horrors of the Holocaust. They chose to use a platform with which they were comfortable, and knew that younger people were as well. These TikTokers figured that this would be a good way to bring awareness, especially at a time when Holocaust denial is at a rise. We all know the saying, its the thought that counts. It follows that we should be able to forgive these users while still showing them the error in their judgement. There are, after all, much better ways to educate young people about the Holocaust, even on TikTok.

Sadly, this was not the case for many others who uploaded Holocaust trend videos. Many had the goal of making fun of the atrocities that occurred in the Holocaust and created a form of denial, sending the message that, It couldnt have been that bad; why are you Jews always complaining about it? Some uploaders went so far as to compare IDF soldiers to Nazi criminals. This made it difficult to forget or justify.

Is it enough to just ignore such videos? This is a question that I had asked myself when I first came across them. I didnt know what the best solution was, but I couldnt just keep scrolling. Although I am definitely not a social media expert, this is what I have learned so far:

Remember: your voice matters. Use it. People care what you have to say.

Eli Yissar Josefson is a high school student in Toronto, Canada where she is the school's newspaper editor. She has had a passion for Israel ever since she can remember and has been involved with Hasbara Fellowships Canada for three years where she has published several political articles involving Israel and the United States.

More:

Gen Z's Perception of the Holocaust | Eli Yissar Josefson | The Blogs - The Times of Israel


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