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May 12, 2009

Facebook suspends two Holocaust-denial groups

Posted: 04:52 PM ET

Under pressure from activists, Facebook has disabled two of five pages dedicated to Holocaust-denial groups.

Barry Schnitt, a spokesman for the social-networking site, confirmed the removal in an e-mail to CNET's Technically Incorrect.

"Two of the groups have been disabled, but the other three remain," Schnitt wrote. "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. This has happened in the past, especially when controversial groups are publicized."

One of the most vocal supporters for the pages' removal has been Brian Cuban, a Texas attorney and brother of Dallas Mavericks team owner Mark Cuban.

Brian Cuban and others have argued that the Holocaust-denial pages violate Facebook's terms of service, which prohibits content that is hateful.

While Cuban said it's great that two of the pages have been suspended, he said Facebook's actions do not go far enough. "It misses the crux of the dispute, which is a fundamental difference in the belief of what Holocasut Denial represents," he said.

"Facebook sees Holocaust Denial as an unpopular, even rupugnant history theory," Cuban wrote in an e-mail to CNN. "I see Holocaust Denial as a mantra of hate against Jews, and therefore no group should be tolerated. Facebook should not be picking and choosing who they think hates Jews and who does not. All the groups should go."
- Lisa Respers France, CNN.com writer

Filed under: Facebook


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Jimi   May 12th, 2009 6:29 pm ET

I don't think HD is in itself hate, so it should be allowed. If there is hate take it down, but there is no inherent hate in saying history went one way or other.
I could say that I honestly believe that I am a brain floating in a jar and nothing in my life actually happened – I only imagined it. This would mean the Holocaust didn't happen (not did any other historical event, as everything is in my imagination). Does this mean if I say that I believe I am a brain floating in a jar that I hate Jews?
And the question isn't who hates the Jews, it is who is exhibiting such hate. I can hate the Jews and post "I like to go swimming," this should not be removed, because even though I (in this hypothetical situation) hate Jews, I did not post anything exhibiting that hate.
Anyone who says they can be sure the Holocaust did happen are wrong. All you can know is that you exist and that you think. Everything else is uncertain. But it probably did. But that doesn't matter.


Jesus   May 12th, 2009 7:17 pm ET

There go the Jews, -not- controlling the media again...oh wait...

Seriously, get the hell over it.


Jesse   May 12th, 2009 7:28 pm ET

There's no doubt the Holocaust happened but the number of deaths published to the general public found in history books etc are inflated and inaccurate. This doesn't mean the event is any less severe or wrong by any means. If anybody disagrees I encourage you to do the research yourself from several reliable sources. All the groups involved in this terrible tragedy need to learn from the past and stop dwelling on it and move forward. Everybody is entitled to there own opinions and beliefs as long as they don't cause physical harm to others. Brian Cuban and others alike need to realize that if they don't like an opinion or belief by someone or a group, that goes against theirs then don't read about it or listen to it.


John   May 12th, 2009 10:54 pm ET

The Jewish Internet Defense Force (JIDF) initiated the entire campaign. There's a lot more troublesome material out there. The mainstream media has a lot of the story wrong. Go to the JIDF site for more info:

http://www.thejidf.org


Brandon   May 12th, 2009 11:25 pm ET

This just goes to show that HUMANS do not have the right to EXPRESS there views, opinions and thoughts in this world! Just because a FEW people are upset is not fair! This is the Same Reason the STATES are ignoring the CHURCH when they cry at the "Gay Marriage Issue"! The Beliefs of 1 Religion should NOT and will NOT overpower everyone else! Just the same that these people SHOULD be able to express this view and opinion!

DENIAL is not a HATE against jews, and if it is? WHO ARE YOU To tell them they are not ALOUD To hate jews? Your just as much a HATER as they are for trying to have them BAND for expressing there THOUGHTS and opinions!

I DONT Support the DENIAL, but i DO SUPPORT THE DENIAL GROUPS!


badfish303   May 13th, 2009 1:34 am ET

This is just another push of the capitalist agenda. Yes Holocaust Denial is wrong but that is not the reason that facebook is pushing this.
I wrote a blog article about it at freespace7.blogspot.com. It talks about how they leave all the other racist groups but only delete these ones because they lose some cash....


john   May 13th, 2009 7:01 am ET

I hate the dallas mavericks, so if i get enough people to complain about it, i can get anything to do with them removed from facebook! This is a bunch of crap, It is called censorship, I don't care if you believe the holocaust happened or not, What right do you have to censor Mr Cuban.
I don't care if you agree with these people or not,You do not have a right to tell people what to read, write, or who to like, Just because of their politics, religion, or race. So I would say if you want to censor materiral, that you pack your bags and moved to China, Russia, or some other country.
Because We have a right to freedom of speech in this country. So get off your high horse. Those people have a right o believe any thing they want, and to say what they want about what they believe.


Rory   May 13th, 2009 8:34 am ET

This strikes me as a violation of free speech. Yes Holocaust deniers are abysmally ignorant and repulsive, but as a friend of mine once said there's no law against stupid. It is a hard truth, but groups who promote hatred and ignorance have as much right to exist as groups that promote education and tolerance. I worry that Bill Cuban has started the cannibalistic trend of powerful people censoring groups simply because they don't like them. This is the antithesis of free speech.


Gerda Edwards   May 13th, 2009 10:42 am ET

"Facebook should not be picking and choosing who they think hates Jews and who does not. All the groups should go."
==============================
In other words, Facebook shouldn't decide - Mr. Cuban should.


Matt   May 13th, 2009 10:50 am ET

"This strikes me as a violation of free speech."

*sigh*... the First Amendment only applies to the government. Facebook is a private company. They can "censor" anyone or anything they want on their site, with whatever standards they want - even completely arbitrary or capricious ones. This is not a legal issue at all. They can do whatever they want.

Their policy is that Holocaust denial itself is not "hate", so they will not remove groups that are just about that. I'm with Facebook on this one. Deciding arbitrarily that certain points of discussion are off-limits would set a bad precedent.


Kira   May 13th, 2009 12:31 pm ET

Bravo, Facebook, for exercising your right as a private company to keep hate-promoting groups off your site. Rory, your logic is flawed. You said: "It is a hard truth, but groups who promote hatred and ignorance have as much right to exist as groups that promote education and tolerance." However, Facebook's decision has nothing to do with whether hate-promoting groups are allowed to exist. They just can't spout their hatred on Facebook, and Facebook has the right to make that decision. Hate-promoters put the targets of their hate in danger. I was born into a Jewish family long after WWII had ended, but I have had a swastika carved onto my front door–by ignorant, hate-filled people.

As a child, my brother was bullied by the neighbor boys because their parents taught the boys the myth that the Jews killed Jesus. This is the ultimate, hate-filled lie. "The Jews" did not kill Jesus. One hate-filled, power-hungry ruler did. Read history for yourself!


DigiNaz   May 13th, 2009 12:45 pm ET

I am not and American and have noticed that when it comes to Jews US makes exceptions. It appears that they are above the law or something. Wouldn't your free speech have allowed that discussion to occur whether someones likes it or not? The burden of proof is on the Jews, and they have never come clean on this... Like someone said, get over it – They can't play this card anymore while commiting genocide in Palestine.


john   May 13th, 2009 1:29 pm ET

I do not think they should have done that. My reasoning for this is because many poeple if not all of the poeple in germany or have a strong german backround say that the holocaust never happened becuase they were taught this. Others will say it is becuase of hate towards the U.S that they say these things. I do not deny that some may be because of hate but there are others who know no different.


Eball   May 13th, 2009 2:04 pm ET

This is not a violation of free speech as some others have commented. There are plenty of places and venues that you can't just go into and yell whatever crazy thing you want and not expect to be kicked out. You can't go into a store and start screaming curse words at the top of your lungs, and then complain when you're removed from the store. Facebook is no different, and good riddance to these groups.


paerki   May 13th, 2009 2:48 pm ET

I am sad for those who deny the Holocaust. I've met surviviors and their stories are real, amazing and touching. They are life changing. However, freedom of speech must prevail (even on Facebook). Sadly, those who deny the Holocaust have rights too. If you don't like what people are saying, don't read it!

It's hard for me to read what people say about me because I am Gay. Gay people are attacked on Facebook. There are many other minorites attacked on Facebook too. However, groups have the right to share information about their likes and dislikes. Intervention must only be considered if there is a plan to attack a group or one particular person.

paerki
paerki@aim.com


Alan   May 13th, 2009 3:15 pm ET

We all know that these hate groups are bad but no one is forcing anyone to read their posts. I think it is unfair and goes against our country's freedom of speech.


John   May 13th, 2009 3:34 pm ET

This is not a violation of free speech. Facebook is a proprietary website, and they have the right to ban any groups they want. Holocaust deniers can create their own Facebook-style website to discuss their theories if they're unhappy with Facebook's decision.


Ken   May 13th, 2009 4:06 pm ET

There are anti-Black, White, Asian Groups... on Facebook, but that ok, but if its Anti-Jewish, there's a problem. Why?


RobK   May 13th, 2009 4:19 pm ET

Facebook can censor whatever they want. However, if they want to be a site for the free exchange of ideas, they won't exercise censorship too freely. Denial of something factual should not be grounds for removal. There are people who deny that the world is round, that man landed on the moon, that dinosaurs existed, that Dick Cheney is a human. Should these be banned too? I further submit that even hate groups should be allowed on Facebook, i.e. those that hate broccoli, or the Yankees, or whites, or blacks, and yes, even Jews. They should be removed only if they encourage violence. But that will be Facebook's call.


Chris   May 13th, 2009 4:50 pm ET

Really, Cuban, is anybody truly interested in what YOU think? The ego of this guy. "I see Holocaust Denial as a mantra of hate". Good for you. Glad you have an opinion. I see your last name as a promotion of Communism, but that's just my opinion. I'm not going to seek your deportation as a Commie Sympathizer because of my own outrageous, misguided opinion.

.......or am I?


Kat   May 13th, 2009 5:13 pm ET

Cuban says, “I see Holocaust Denial as a mantra of hate against Jews, and therefore no group should be tolerated." Well, I don't like Mr. Cuban, therefore his opinions cannot be tolerated by anyone. What a joke?

So, Mr. Cuban is now the dictatorial decider of what is now good or evil in the world? Mr. Cuban decides what opinions you and I are permitted to hold?

Mr. Cuban, as a lawyer, cannot be a very good one based on his reasoning abilities, or lack thereof.


Kat   May 13th, 2009 5:21 pm ET

Mr. Cuban's absolute dictatorial position is right in line with Hitler. Hitler would be proud of Mr. Cuban – burn the books, delete the content, do not allow others to think freely.


Dirt   May 13th, 2009 6:00 pm ET

What's next? Should we also take down the sites of people who have publically expressed denial of a genocide?


RFK   May 13th, 2009 6:18 pm ET

As stated by Matt, who seems to be the only sensible one so far, Facebook is a private company and can deem what is and is not acceptable on their web site.
It is NOT a violation of free speech since Facebook is not in any way associated with or regulated by the federal government (not yet).
As for Mr. Cuban, he's entitled to his opinion.
Brandon, learn how to spell already!


Brian   May 13th, 2009 7:54 pm ET

Hi, John.

You said:

"My reasoning for this is because many poeple if not all of the poeple in germany or have a strong german backround say that the holocaust never happened becuase they were taught this."

Actually, laws against Holocaust denial are *particularly* stiff in Germany. The Germans well understand where Holocaust denial can lead.


Steve   May 13th, 2009 8:48 pm ET

Rory: People like you really need to learn a little more about the concept of free speech. The first amendment protects you from governmental infringement on your speech. It does not mean that a website can't determine what content is and is not appropriate for its site. It also does not mean that private citizens aren't allowed to criticize the things you say (think Miss California).


Dee   May 13th, 2009 9:47 pm ET

Anybody can get down for violating the terms of service on a privately owned website, the same way someone could get booted from a private home or conversation for being an obnoxious sob. Free speech paranoiacs relax.


mark   May 13th, 2009 10:30 pm ET

Give me liberty - or give me death.


babyfacemagee   May 14th, 2009 12:32 am ET

Holocaust Denial IS a form of jew hatred and is antisemitic. The people that promote holocaust denial know that of course there was a holocaust and that approx 6 million jews died in it but just as someone might say 'there was never any such thing as slavery' in order to 'piss off' black people...holocaust deniers do this as a 'cover' for their jew-hatred'. People that don't get this are naive.

The fact that they are then able to fool some uneducated or ignorant people into thinking that actually the holocaust was 'made up'...which of course is patently ridiculous as it is the most documented crime in all of history...adds to the antisemitic fuel. Holocaust deniers are jew haters, plain and simple. It is just an 'insidious' way of going about it so that they can 'get away' with their antisemitism in plain site.

In Nazi germany BEFORE the holocaust began, the german gov't floated all kinds of fictitious stories about jews, jewish history, fabricated stories of jews trying to control germany. It was all fiction but it served the purpose of the antisemites to convince those that are ignorant and easily swayed to 'join the jew-hatred' party. Naive, unsophisticated people often think that just because something exists...there must be truth to it...they don't understand psychology or propaganda. Leni Riefenstahl and Goebels were masters at this type of 'insinuation' of truth by fabricating things in the media. It is exactly through techniques as 'holocaust denial' that modern anti-semites try and do the same thing today

By claiming that the holocaust was 'invented' by jews...rather than them being innocent victims, the antisemites try and 'twist' history to get ignorant young people to believe that the jews are 'so sneaky' that they would invent a horrible tragedy as a way of gaining some agenda. Don't be fooled by holocaust deniers. They know all too well that the holocaust is a historical fact. They simply try and insinuate their own evil jew hatred by molesting history. There is no place on facebook or any other public medium for such 'sneaky' racism. The only one that gains is the racist.


rider83   May 14th, 2009 12:40 am ET

Who determines what is hate? Just because you disagree does not mean the other point of view is hate or are all points of view hate? Technically speaking you cannot talk about the JDL as they could be considered a hate group!


Dennis   May 19th, 2009 11:18 am ET

A private company such as Facebook has the legal authority to regulate its media (ie. speech) this includes Holocaust denial, hate speech, and other deplorable language it deems harmful.

User of Facebook domestic or international, are not covered by Free Speech.


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