Facebook bans some Holocaust-denial groups, but not all

By Dan Goldberg, May 14, 2009

Facebook, the social networking website, has removed two online groups promoting Holocaust denial.

The development on Monday came despite spokesman Barry Schnitt suggesting last week that the website would only ban users viewing such groups in countries where Holocaust denial is a criminal offence, such as Israel and Germany.

Members of the two banned groups — titled “The Holocaust is a Holohoax” and “Based on Facts… There Was No Holocaust” — were using Facebook as “a forum to promote hate”, Schnitt said.

However, several other Holocaust-denial groups, including “Holocaust: A series of lies” and “Holocaust is a myth”, remain on the popular site. Schnitt added: “We are monitoring these groups and if the discussion among members degrades to the point of promoting hate or violence, despite whatever disclaimer the group description provides, we will take them down.”

The decision to remove the two groups follows a sustained campaign led by US attorney Brian Cuban, who has argued since last year that the presence of these groups contravenes Facebook’s own terms of use. Facebook’s terms state that any of its users can be banned if they post “any content that we deem to be harmful, threatening, unlawful, defamatory, infringing, abusive, inflammatory, harassing, vulgar, obscene, fraudulent, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable”.

Other critics accuse Facebook of double standards. It has banned pictures of mothers breastfeeding babies because of nudity, but has not fully clamped down on race hate.

The site recently removed a group titled “Isle of Man KKK” following complaints, Mr Schnitt said.

Last updated: 10:32am, May 14 2009