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Social media platforms are failing in their responsibility to remove frequent instances of Holocaust denial, a new Anti-Defamation League study found.

The ADL Holocaust Denial Report Card ranked 10 social media and gaming platforms on their “efforts to enforce rules and effectively respond to and remove content, memes and messages that deny the Holocaust or use conspiracy theories about it to spread antisemitic beliefs.”

The survey, a follow up to the ADL’s 2021 report card, noted that Holocaust deniers have been expoiting social media and gaming platforms to spread propaganda and recruit support. It examined 10 major social media and game platforms and their stated policies and enforcement rates when it comes to content containing Holocaust denial.

“Our 2023 investigation revealed that while most platforms will remove explicit Holocaust denial content for trusted flaggers such as ADL, they often do not act accordingly when the same content is reported by ordinary users,” the report noted.

“This report card must be viewed in light of surges in online and offline antisemitism in recent years,” the report explained. “In 2021, ADL found that the number of reports of assaults, vandalism, and harassment targeting Jewish communities and individuals in the United States was the highest on record since we began tracking antisemitic incidents in 1979. Government officials have warned about the connection between online antisemitic content and offline violence.”

The ADL recommended that platforms increase proactive actions to curb and ban Holocaust denial and to consistency and quickly enforce policies against flagged content. Platforms should also make reporting easier for users alongside providing “concise, user-friendly materials” that educate them about Holocaust denial.

In the study, no platform reviewed scored higher than a “C+” in their efforts to moderate and remove denial content. While Twitch and YouTube were the highest rated platforms they only earned a C-plus. Facebook/ Instagram, TikTok, Discord, Riot Games and Reddit each earned a C-minus. Twitter and Activision Blizzard earned a D-minus, and Epic Games was last with an “F.”

“Tech companies claim to be addressing hate on their platforms. But when it comes to Holocaust denial, they aren’t,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said. “The consequence is that Holocaust deniers take advantage of this lax enforcement to spread their noxious antisemitic ideas and garner support for their hateful views.”

While half of the companies reviewed have explicit policies forbidding Holocaust denial content, and all have policies prohibiting hate speech, the ADL Center for Technology and Society found that most platforms do not remove content flagged or reported by ordinary users.

“Despite being one of history’s most painstakingly well-documented genocides, the deliberately hateful denial of the Holocaust has been a longstanding problem on social media,” Greenblatt said. “Some have wavered on the issue by making free speech claims, but Holocaust denial is undeniably hate speech and private companies have no obligation to tolerate it.”

Yael Eisenstat, Vice President of the ADL Center for Technology and Society, denounced tech firms for amplifying Holocaust denial by not adequately acting to ensure it does not exist on their platforms.

“At a time when antisemitism is rising in the US and globally, tech platforms bear considerable responsibility for serving as megaphones for Holocaust deniers,” Eisenstat said. “Jewish users face real threats, but the response from social platforms has been lackluster at best. We call on tech companies to stop being complacent when confronted with anti-Jewish hatred and to enforce their policies against Holocaust denial content consistently and at scale.”