Facebook is the largest and most prolific social media site in the world. The actions that it takes on administering its site are consequential to all. Recently, it has become the home of Holocaust denial and the favorite launching site of hatred and bigotry.
A recent letter signed by Holocaust survivors who are volunteers at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles requested that Facebook review its policy on allowing Holocaust-denial sites to prosper and voice their opinion on Facebook.
“We, the undersigned, are Holocaust survivors who saw our parents, children and loved ones brutally murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust,” the letter states. “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.”
Facebook’s reply was less than satisfying to those that bear the scars of the world’s worst genocide.
“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.”
The question that must be answered: Is it appropriate or moral for bald-faced historical revisionists, neo-Nazis and anti-Semites to have a safe haven to propagate their hateful agenda? They are inundating the susceptible in our society, or in other words, stirring up the cauldron of hate. The consequences of this are frightening to imagine. What will come next? Recruitment for the KKK? Excuse me, what am I thinking? That is probably occurring already.
It is time for the words “Freedom of Speech” to be defined and revealed as they were intended by our forefathers. The Internet has given rise to unimaginable access. The farthest reaches of our planet are no longer far at all. Minute-by-minute discourse is possible and ideas travel faster, it seems, than the speed of light. How might Hitler be smiling (in Hell of course) at the dissemination of his evil philosophy thanks to the spineless, obsequious policies of Facebook?
Facebook should stand up and set precedent; it should lead and not follow. I call on Mark Zuckerberg, a born Jew and self-proclaimed atheist, to mend his company’s ways and “do the right thing!” Remove evil hate sites that do not add to the glory of Facebook or to our world, and in so doing remove the tacit endorsement and legitimization that having a page on Facebook provides.
Give the survivors, who are in the twilight of their lives, the dignity of knowing that it was not all for naught and, more importantly, the triumph of having prevailed over evil.
Tema Merback is the author of “In the Face of Evil: Based on the life of Dina Frydman Balbien.”