Facebook Has Finally Banned Holocaust Denial. Critics Ask What Took Them So Long

Children liberated from Auschwitz in World War II, 1945
Children liberated from Auschwitz in World War II, 1945

Children photographed inside the Auschwitz concentration camp on January 27, 1945. Credit – TASS via Getty Images

Facebook updated its rules on Monday to explicitly ban any content that “denies or distorts” the Holocaust, after years of allowing people to deny that the genocide occurred.

The move reverses Facebook’s previous stance, which was articulated by CEO Mark Zuckerberg in years of interviews as not wanting his company to be an arbiter of truth.

“I’m Jewish, and there’s a set of people who deny that the Holocaust happened. I find that deeply offensive. But at the end of the day, I don’t believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong,” he told Vox’s Recode in 2018.

Zuckerberg’s position, and Facebook’s, has “evolved” since then, he said in a Facebook post published Monday. “I’ve struggled with the tension between standing for free expression and the harm caused by minimizing or denying the horror of the Holocaust. My own thinking has evolved as I’ve seen data showing an increase in anti-Semitic violence, as have our wider policies on hate speech.”

“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,” said Facebook’s vice president of content policy, Monika Bickert, in a statement.

Civil rights groups welcomed the news, but questioned Facebook’s timing. “As Facebook finally decides to take a stance against Holocaust denial and distortion, they claim it is because of their work with the Jewish community over the past year,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti Defamation League (ADL), in a statement. “We question this claim because if they had wanted to support the Jewish community,

California’s mandate to sell only zero-emissions vehicles by 2035 isn’t as crazy as critics think

Last week, California Governor Gavin Newson leaned over the hood of a Ford Mustang Mach-E and signed an executive order saying that all new passenger cars and trucks sold in the state must be emission-free by 2035.



a toaster oven sitting on top of a car: A detail view is seen of an Hyundai Kona Electric Highlander ahead of the Electric Vehicle Show 2019 at Sydney Olympic Park on October 25, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. Electric vehicles are being bought in greater numbers in Australia, with 2017 seeing a 67% increase in sales from the previous year. The largest EV test ride event will be open to public on October 26 and 27th. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)


© Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
A detail view is seen of an Hyundai Kona Electric Highlander ahead of the Electric Vehicle Show 2019 at Sydney Olympic Park on October 25, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. Electric vehicles are being bought in greater numbers in Australia, with 2017 seeing a 67% increase in sales from the previous year. The largest EV test ride event will be open to public on October 26 and 27th. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The new mandate doesn’t necessarily mean that California car dealers would, literally, sell nothing but fully electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles 15 years from now, several experts say.

Loading...

Load Error

That is the goal, though. And it’s not entirely out of the question, said Nick Albanese, a researcher with Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“I think California’s target is ambitious, but feasible,” he wrote in an email. “Even before this announcement, we forecast passenger EVs to account for 52% of total US passenger vehicle sales in 2035 and 61% in 2040.”

Of course, there are many hurdles to overcome on the road to an emission-free auto market, including a widely available charging infrastructure, affordability, and lots of legal fine points.

With 15 years until the mandate goes into effect, there’s plenty of time for negotiation, and we will likely see Newsom’s goal softened or the deadline extended, said Chelsea Sexton, an analyst who covers the electric vehicle market.

“It will take a few years, literally, for this headline to be clarified,” she said.

Can California legally do this?

The federal government’s Environmental Protection Agency has already publicly challenged Newsom

Facebook’s high-profile critics urge it to do more to safeguard US elections

Facebook-logo-phone-eye-4680

Facebook critics say the social network needs to do more to safeguard the US elections.


Angela Lang/CNET

Some of Facebook’s most prominent critics on Wednesday called on the social network to take steps to safeguard democracy ahead of the US elections in November, accusing it of not enforcing its own rules against inciting violence.

The group calls itself the Real Facebook Oversight Board and is made up of high-profile journalists, activists, academics, politicians and business people. Members include Facebook investor Roger McNamee, Filipino-American journalist Maria Ressa (who co-founded the news site Rappler), Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, Color of Change President Rashad Robinson and UK Parliament member Damian Collins.

During a press conference on Wednesday, the group outlined a list of demands for Facebook. The social network should enforce its rules including a policy against inciting violence along with banning paid ads that mention the presidential election results until one candidate is declared the winner and the other concedes. Facebook should also label posts about presidential election results as untrue and premature before the results come out, the group says.

The demands show that Facebook continues to face more pressure to do a better job of combating misinformation and hate speech before the US elections in November. 

Facebook has faced criticism this year for how it interprets its own rules. The company didn’t pull down a post by President Donald Trump that said “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” sparking a rare virtual walkout by Facebook employees in June. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said even though the post “had a troubling historical reference” the company decided to leave it up because it had a reference to the