A Facebook logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken 6 January 2020.
A Facebook logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken 6 January 2020. Reuters

Facebook on Monday said it will prohibit any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust, directing people to credible information off Facebook if they search for terms associated with the Holocaust or its denial on its platform.

Updating its hate speech policy, the social network said that organisations that study trends in hate speech are reporting increases in online attacks against many groups worldwide.

“Our decision is supported by the well-documented rise in anti-Semitism globally and the alarming level of ignorance about the Holocaust, especially among young people,” Monika Bickert, VP of Content Policy at Facebook, said in a statement.

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Facebook said it has to date banned more than 250 white supremacist organisations and updated its policies to address militia groups and far-right group QAnon.

It took down 22.5 million pieces of hate speech from its platform in the second quarter this year.

“Beginning later this year, we will direct anyone to credible information off Facebook if they search for terms associated with the Holocaust or its denial on our platform,” Bickert said.

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According to a recent survey of adults in the US aged 18-39, almost a quarter said they believed the Holocaust was a myth, that it had been exaggerated or they weren’t sure.

Facebook said it has worked with communities around the world to help it understand how hatred, including anti-Semitism, is expressed online.

“These efforts have included regular discussions with groups that have a global reach, like the World Jewish Congress and the American Jewish Committee,” Facebook said.