Feeds

Facebook denies denying Holocaust deniers

The fine line between jerks and the KKK

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Facebook has once again found itself sizzling uncomfortably in the frying pan of user outrage recently, this time for apparently letting a bunch of Holocaust denial groups maintain shop on the site.

The most prominent voice demanding Holocaust denial groups get the boot from Facebook belongs to attorney Brian Cuban, brother of high-tech entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. He has launched a public campaign to have groups like "Holocaust: A Series of Lies," and "Holocaust is a Holohoax" scoured from the site — pointing out Facebook's inconsistent policy of censorship.

Human nature dictates that owning the world's biggest social network means you're invariably hosting a public forum for Earth's diverse pool of jerks and assholes — but Facebook apparently wants to strike an arbitrary line between the two.

Ah yes, but when does mere jerkish behavior wander into the area of unacceptable assholitude?

Barely a week ago, Facebook removed a page promoting KKK membership on the Isle of Man. Yet Holocaust denial groups are still peddling their history retcons on the site easy as you please.

Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt recently told CNN the company does find the Holocaust deniers patently offensive and objectionable, but wants to maintain a delicate balance of free speech and user protection. The reason the KKK site got shuttered, according to Facebook, is because the site advocated violence by asking users to "join us and help clense [sic] the Isle of Man."

Cuban also complained that these Holocaust denial groups violate anti-hate-speech laws in several European countries and are therefore inherently against Facebook's terms of service. He's since backed away from this, calling the stance a "back door 'lawyer's approach'" when he should have focused on the real issue.

From Cuban's website:

The Holocaust Denial movement is nothing more than a pretext to allow the preaching of hatred against Jews and to recruit other like minded individuals to do the same. Allowing these groups to flourish on Facebook under the guise of “open discussion” does nothing more than help spread their message of hate. Is this the kind of open discussion that Facebook wants to encourage? Is this really where you want to draw your line?

Facebook, meanwhile, has done what it does best when facing public scrutiny: wriggling. The site confirmed to CNet that it has shut down two of the five Holocaust denial groups on Cuban's periscope. Apparently, the site wants to maintain all the freedom of speech blustering it has made in its defense while still sweeping the controversy under the rug. The solution: Eying the groups on tenterhooks until someone there promotes hate or violence.

But then, perhaps there really wasn't a more a tactful way for Facebook to deal with the situation. Freedom of speech, ain't it a bitch sometimes? ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
NSA mass spying reform KILLED by US Senators
Democrats needed just TWO more votes to keep alive bill reining in some surveillance
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.