How Facebook handles Holocaust denial
A Facebook training manual for content moderators reportedly instructs staff to only remove materials denying the Holocaust in four countries – Israel, France, Germany and Austria – as the company is concerned that it might be sued in those places, the Guardian reported on Wednesday.
Holocaust denial has been outlawed in 14 countries, but it seems that the protocols are not in place for all of those places.
According to the Guardian, one document says that Facebook “does not welcome local law that stands as an obstacle to an open and connected world” and will only consider blocking or hiding Holocaust denial materials if “we face the risk of getting blocked in a country or a legal risk.”
The Guardian reports that a picture of a concentration camp captioned “Never again Believe the Lies” was an example of materials that are permitted everywhere but the four countries that the social media giant fears legal action. According to the newspaper Facebook contests this but refused to elaborate.
“We believe our geo-blocking policy balances our belief in free expression with the practical need to respect local laws in certain sovereign nations in order to remain unblocked and avoid legal liability. We will only use geo-blocking when a country has taken sufficient steps to demonstrate that the local legislation permits censorship in that specific case,” explains the training manual, which was leaked to the Guardian.
“Some 14 countries have legislation on their books prohibiting the expression of claims that the volume of death and severity of the Holocaust is overestimated. Less than half the countries with these laws actually pursue it. We block on report only in those countries that actively pursue the issue with us.”