Facebook is having a big problem with its suggestion algorithms. A new research discovered that the social media platform “actively promotes” Holocaust denial content. That happens if a netizen previously interacted with a Holocaust denial content.
“Hosting the Holohoax: A Snapshot of Holocaust Denial Across Social Media,” shows that Facebook not only hosts antisemitic content. The social media giant also denies that the Holocaust has occurred. The algorithm continues to provide users with that content.
The report found that “when a user follows public pages containing Holocaust denial content,” Facebook promotes related content through the “snowball” method. The process happens when a user clicks suggested content based on prior activity.
“Facebook aggressively encourages more Holocaust denial material to the consumer” in the case of the Holocaust denial information.
The report found similar Holocaust denial content available via Reddit, Twitter, and YouTube. However, Facebook actively shows additional material related to it.
Researchers noted 2,300 posts on Reddit referring to “holohoax” – a term often used by deniers. During the past two years, there were 19,000 pieces on Twitter and 9,500 pieces of content on YouTube.
Fourteen out of the top 20 most retweeted tweets on Twitter expressed explicit criticism of the Holocaust. They also used the word “holohoax.”
The same feedback mechanisms that promoted new denial material for the Holocaust focused on how the world’s largest social network works.
Facebook gathers incredibly comprehensive details on how people communicate with something on the social network. Depending on the knowledge, the content tailors itself to each individual.
Facebook is by far the largest social network in existence, with well over 2 billion users. But as the service continues to grow, the company that runs it has struggled to moderate the content.
A Wall Street Journal study in May that CEO Mark Zuckerberg and company executives failed to control the app. The article claimed Facebook algorithms “exploit the lure of the human brain towards divisiveness.”
What did Zuckerberg say?
Zuckerberg, a Jewish, has already spoken about his own struggle to regulate an issue such as the Holocaust denial.
“I’m Jewish, and there’s a set of people who deny that the Holocaust happened. I find that deeply offensive,” he told Recode in July 2018.
“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.”
“The mere statement of denying the Holocaust is not a violation of our terms,” a Facebook spokesperson told ABC News.
CEO of the Anti-Defamation League Jonathan Greenblatt issued a statement following Zuckerberg’s 2018 remarks stated that denial of the Holocaust. He claimed that Holocaust denial is a “willful, deliberate, and longstanding deception tactic.” Greenblatt added the move is “incontrovertibly hateful, hurtful, and threatening to Jews.”
Facebook has long been noted for policies that permit denial of the Holocaust. A 2009 article by TechCrunch called the company “stubbornly proud” of its stance. The article was published after the brother of billionaire investor Mark Cuban, lambasted the company for “promoting and encouraging hatred.”