Facebook rejects plea by Shoah survivors to remove offensive pages

The popular social networking website Facebook has turned down a request to remove pages on which users can freely espouse Holocaust denial. The rejection comes despite a plea from a group of 21 Holocaust survivors who earlier this month signed a letter to Facebook, asking that the denial of the Nazi mass murder of Jews no longer be considered admissible under Facebook's ‘freedom of speech’ policy.

The letter states: "We, the undersigned, are Holocaust survivors who saw our parents, children and loved ones brutally murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust. We are writing to you to protest Facebook’s policy that categorizes Holocaust denial as 'free speech,' rather than the shameless, cynical, and hateful propaganda that it is. As individuals who are both victims of and witnesses to the truth of the horrors and hate of that time period, we are deeply hurt and offended by your policy that protects Holocaust denial as speech. Above all else, Holocaust denial, in any form, is a desecration of our suffering the suffering and martyrdom of our murdered parents, brothers and sisters."

The survivors added allowing such hate-propaganda on the social networking site enabled Holocaust deniers to preach their inherent message of lies and hate and called on Facebook "to live up to its moral and social responsibilities".

They said that if Facebook – founded by the Jewish student Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard in 2004 - did not take action, it would be "exposing the public and, in particular, youth to the anti-Semitism which fueled the Holocaust. "Please correct this terrible error in judgment before our generation passes away," they pleaded.

However Facebook, which previously has been reluctant to challenge anti-Israel pages on its site, said it would not fulfill the request.  In its written response to the survivors’ letter, Facebook said: “We think it's important to maintain consistency in our policies, which don't generally prohibit people from making statements about historical events, no matter how ignorant the statement or how awful the event.”

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