(August 13, 2020 / JNS) Facebook has updated its community standards policy to include combatting anti-Semitism on its platform, announced the social-media giant on Tuesday.
“We’ve made progress combating hate on our apps, but we know we have more to do to ensure everyone feels comfortable using our services,” wrote Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president for integrity, in a blog post. “That’s why we’ve established new inclusive teams and task forces, including the Instagram Equity Team and the Facebook Inclusive Product Council, to help us build products that are deliberately fair and inclusive, and we’re launching a Diversity Advisory Council that will provide input based on lived experience on a variety of topics and issues.”
“We’re also updating our policies to more specifically account for certain kinds of implicit hate speech, such as content depicting blackface, or stereotypes about Jewish people controlling the world,” he continued. “We also continued to prioritize the removal of content that violates our policy against hate groups.”
This development comes as more than 120 organizations, many of them Jewish, submitted a letter to Facebook, urging the social-media company to implement a comprehensive hate-speech policy on anti-Semitism that incorporates the widely accepted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism.
Community standards on Facebook and other social-media platforms have been criticized for failing to address the growing threat as online anti-Semitism has spiked in recent years.
“This is a welcome yet overdue step from Facebook,” a spokesman from the Anti-Defamation League told JNS. “It’s distressing that it took this long for the platform to crack down on these particular forms of hate when it’s quite obvious they should not have been allowed to proliferate in the first place.”
“It’s equally as disturbing that Facebook still doesn’t view Holocaust denial as violative of their terms of service,” continued the spokesperson. “We remain committed to holding Facebook and other social-media platforms accountable for finding and removing hateful content, and developing systems to root it out.”
Facebook’s updated policy will now more closely conform with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of anti-Semitism, which includes “making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective—such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.”
“We are pleased by the new policy announcement, which we view as a step in the right direction and reflective of our ongoing conversations with Facebook officials in the United States, Europe and Israel,” American Jewish Committee chief advocacy officer Daniel Elbaum told JNS. “We look forward to continued constructive dialogue with Facebook as part of our overall effort to engage social-media companies on issues of concern to the Jewish community.”
In a statement, World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder said his organization “has worked closely with Facebook to encourage the platform to remove harmful content, including stereotypes as a form of hate speech. We hope this move will be a guiding light for other social-media companies to follow.”
Combat Anti-Semitism Movement director Sacha Roytman-Dratwa said in a statement, “The updated policy on hate speech announced by Facebook is a significant step in the right direction to combat online anti-Semitism. For too long, social-media platforms have been something of a ‘safe space’ for anti-Semites who wish to spread hatred against Jews, often reviving centuries-old stereotypes.”
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