- Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
- Facebook has apologised to the Anne Frank Center for removing an article it posted which featured an image of naked child holocaust victims.
- Facebook said the post was removed because it featured nude images of children, which is banned on the platform. It later restored the post.
- It’s not the first time Facebook’s moderation process has failed to take historical context into account.
Facebook has apologised to the Anne Frank Center for removing an article it posted calling for more Holocaust education. The post featured an image of child Holocaust victims, naked and emaciated.
These numbers are alarming, but this is why we do what we do. Currently only 10 states mandate Holocaust and Genocide Education. How do we counter ignorance about the Holocaust with knowledge, compassion, and understanding? https://t.co/1xtsNLAKEx
— Anne Frank Center (@AnneFrankCenter) August 21, 2018
The Anne Frank Center asked Facebook on Wednesday to clarify why it had removed the post. It also highlighted that Facebook allows Holocaust denial on its platform, which it viewed as hypocrisy.
Hi @Facebook, you removed our post promoting the need for Holocaust Education for apparently violating community standards. You haven't given us a reason, yet allow Holocaust Denial pages to still exist. Seems a little hypocritical?(the post was the exact same as the tweet below) https://t.co/H4bYTdEQp3
— Anne Frank Center (@AnneFrankCenter) August 29, 2018
“While Facebook removes the AFC’s post promoting the need to educate on the past, it continues to allow pages and posts that directly deny the reality of the deaths of more than six million people. Holocaust denial dehumanizes people. It makes thousands feel unsafe. It violates the very standards Facebook lays out for it users. Yet these hate-filled propaganda pages remain,” an Anne Frank Center spokeswoman told Business Insider.
Six hours later Facebook apologised, saying that the post had been removed because it featured nude images of children, which are banned on the platform. It also restored the post.
@AnneFrankCenter, we put your post back up and sent you a message on FB. We don’t allow nude images of children on FB, but we know this is an important image of historical significance and we’ve restored it. We’re sorry and thank you for bringing it to our attention.
— Facebook (@facebook) August 29, 2018
It is not clear whether the image was automatically flagged by Facebook’s algorithm or reported by a user. Facebook did not elaborate when asked by Business Insider.
This is not the first time Facebook has had trouble with historical context. In July it apologized for flagging the Declaration of Independence as hate speech, and museums in Belgium published an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg after they found nude paintings by Rubens were being censored on the platform.
The Anne Frank Center told Business Insider it accepts Facebook’s apology. “We understand the difficulty in assessing the context of potentially controversial content. That said, it shouldn’t have taken us publicly calling out Facebook to restore our post. Hopefully, Facebook can revise their protocols,” said a spokeswoman.
“If Facebook is serious about its community standards it should start tackling Holocaust denial and not the organizations who are trying to educate people on discrimination, facts, and history,” she added.