Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg Reuters

Holocaust survivors around the world are lending their voices to a campaign launched on Wednesday targeting Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and urging him to take action to remove denial of the Nazi genocide from the social media site, The Associated Press reported.

Co-ordinated by the New York-based Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, the #NoDenyingIt campaign uses Facebook itself to make the survivors’ entreaties to Zuckerberg heard, posting one video per day urging him to remove Holocaust-denying groups, pages and posts as hate speech.

The videos will also be posted on Facebook-owned Instagram, as well as Twitter.

Zuckerberg raised the ire of the Claims Conference and others with comments in 2018 to the tech website Recode that posts denying the Nazi annihilation of 6 million Jews would not necessarily be removed.

He said at the time he did not think Holocaust deniers were “intentionally” getting it wrong, and that as long as posts were not calling for harm or violence, even offensive content should be protected.

After an outcry, Zuckerberg clarified that while he personally found “Holocaust denial deeply offensive” he believed that “the best way to fight offensive bad speech is with good speech.”

Facebook representatives have since that time met with the Claims Conference but the group, which negotiates compensation payments from Germany for Holocaust victims, says Zuckerberg himself has refused to, noted AP.

The goal of the campaign is to get him to sit down with Holocaust survivors so that they can personally tell him their stories and make their case that denial violates Facebook’s hate speech standards and should be removed.

“In Germany or in Austria people go to prison if they deny the Holocaust because they know it’s a lie, it’s libel,” said Eva Schloss, an Auschwitz survivor who today lives in London and has recorded a message for Zuckerberg.

“How can somebody really doubt it? Where are the 6 million people? There are tens of thousands of photos taken by the Nazis themselves. They were proud of what they were doing. They don’t deny it, they know they did it.”

Facebook said in a statement that it takes down Holocaust denial posts in countries where it is illegal, like Germany, France and Poland, while in countries where it is not an offence, like the US and Britain, it is carefully monitored to determine whether it crosses the line into what is allowed.

More than 500 companies on July 1 began an advertising boycott intended to pressure Facebook into taking a stronger stand against hate speech, AP reported. The Claims Conference decided to launch its own campaign after concluding the boycott “doesn’t seem to be making a dent,” said Greg Schneider, the Claims Conference’s executive vice-president.