The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect is calling out Facebook for allowing Holocaust denial pages on its site. And the center is doing so through a petition in which it’s requesting Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg take them down. “When these pages spread lies and untruths, it is veiled hatred and anti-semitism designed to cast doubt on facts,” the center says in the Change.org petition. “There is a difference between providing a platform for free expression and knowingly spreading false information and lies. Denying the Holocaust causes harm.”
Though Facebook has attempted to stem the spread of misinformation on its site in various ways since acknowledging its fake news problem, the issue still persists. In some cases, that’s because Facebook has made an active decision to leave misinformation on its site.
Take, for example, last month, when CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to a question from Recode’s Kara Swisher about why Facebook allows groups like InfoWars or Sandy Hook deniers to stay on its platform. “What we will do is we’ll say, ‘Okay, you have your page, and if you’re not trying to organize harm against someone, or attacking someone, then you can put up that content on your page, even if people might disagree with it or find it offensive,'” said Zuckerberg. He also went on to say that he didn’t think Holocaust deniers were intentionally getting the story wrong, though he later walked that back, saying he never intended to defend them.
But the Anne Frank Center says those denying the Holocaust occurred do cause harm and the pages that spread their untruths “foster hatred, division and racism,” which is why it is calling on the company to “take action and help stop this dissemination of hate.” As of writing, the petition had 69,146 signatures.