Open Letter To Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

zuckerbergbriancubanMay 10, 2009

Mark:

The last 7 days have seen much debate on the issue of Holocaust Denial Groups on Facebook.  There has been a lot of focus on the issues of free speech, open discussion of controversial issues and Facebook Terms Of Service(TOS).

While I have made it clear that I would like to see these groups removed, I have done a poor job in articulating why. I attempted to take a short-sighted, back door “lawyer’s approach” with Facebook by alleging that Holocaust Denial was illegal in other countries and, therefore, a violation of Facebook TOS.  While at the time, these were legitimate issues, I should have focused on the real issue.  The issue of the proliferation of Facebook groups that promote hatred of religious and ethnics groups and the hate speech those groups perpetrate. While you may have your doubts, I submit that this includes those who promote the fringe revisionist theory of Holocaust Denial.

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?

It is undisputed that as a collective , Holocaust Deniers are overwhelmingly antisemitic.  One cannot be separated from the other.   They use a fringe, discredited historical theory as a pretext and rallying point to perpetrate and promote their message of hate using Facebook as  recruiting ground.   By allowing these groups whether they number 1 or 1000, Facebook is not promoting open discussion of  a controversial issue.  It is  promoting and encouraging hatred towards ethnic and religious groups, nothing more.

By claiming open discussion as the rationale for allowing these groups to exist, Facebook is playing games with semantics.  Facebook is taking form over substance to protect their imaginary subjective corporate line in the sand they have drawn.

If Facebook is serious about encouraging open discourse on controversial subjects,  let’s start with Facebook itself.  Let’s talk about the controversial decision to allow Holocaust Denial groups.  Let’s talk about transparency.  Sending out canned email answers or spouting canned corporate-speak in an interview is not transparent.  I would like to see transparency on the specifics of how Facebook went about arriving at this controversial decision.  I would like you to address the following questions:

In a CNN interview,   Facebook representative Barry Schnitt stated:

“It’s a difficult decision to make. We have a lot of internal debate and we bring in experts to talk about it,” Schnitt said. “Just being offensive or objectionable doesn’t get it taken off Facebook. We want it [the site] to be a place where people can discuss all kinds of ideas, including controversial ones.”

Mark, I would like to know who at Facebook was involved in the “internal debate”  that resulted in the decision that Holocaust Denial does not constitute hate speech.  Were you involved?  Do you offer any input in these types of discussions?  How does Facebook define “internal debate”? How many people were involved?  What was their expertise to discuss this issue?  Did they bring their personal beliefs to the table?   What safeguards were employed to ensure objectivity in a decision that is innately subjective?  Were attorneys consulted that have experience in such matters or was it general counsel?  Do you agree that something can be legal but still constitute hate speech?  Was the final decision yours?  Did the buck stop with you?

I would also like to know what experts were consulted on this issue.  Were any Holocaust Denial experts consulted?  Were any experts on antisemitism consulted?   Were any hate speech experts in general  consulted?  If so, I would appreciate it if you would identify these experts spoken of by Barry Schnitt in his CNN interview.

Finally, Mark, in an interview for the CNET blog “Technically Incorrect”, Barry Schnitt stated:

“One thing to consider that someone actually mentioned in the thread was the idea that there may be a benefit to having these ideas discussed in the open. Would we rather Holocaust denial was discussed behind closed doors or quietly propagated by anonymous sources? Or would we rather it was discussed in the open on Facebook where people’s real names and their photo is associated with it for their friends, peers, and colleagues to see?”

Is this an official corporate statement from Facebook on how Holocaust Denial should be addressed in society?  What kind of open discussion was Mr. Schnitt talking about?   How was he defining  “open discussion”?  How does Facebook define “open discussion”?  What experts did Facebook consult in coming to the conclusion that “open discussion” was the most appropriate way to deal with this subject?   Are you aware of the Jewish/Holocaust historical significance of such a statement Mark?   I sent an email to Facebook asking for clarification of his statement but received no response other than the canned ,”we received your email”.

Mark, I hope you will take the time to respond to these important questions and issues, not just with regards to the Holocaust Denial issue, but with regards to transparency in how Facebook subjectively comes to these types of decisions in general.

Sincerely

Brian Cuban

©2009 Brian Cuban

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129 Comments For This Post

  1. Rob Says:

    Very well written Brian, hopefully you will get a response. I agree with your position that Facebook needs to explain this in more detail. Either they censor all hate speech or they don't. Looking forward to reading their response.

  2. Dory Says:

    Well, I am not a Holocaust denier, but I was curious about what those "Holohoax" sites had to say.

    The ones I read WERE full of hate rhetoric about Jewish schemes and plots and offered no evidence for their claims.

    How can anybody discuss or debate statements that have no logic or evidence?

    I believe our time would be better spent discussing the possible solutions of the Israeli-Palestine conflict.

  3. Frank Says:

    Will you shut up about this? What a stupid cause… no one would even know about these groups if you didn't keep harping on it. Facebook is not mongering hate. You are.

  4. bcuban Says:

    No I wont shut up.. sucks huh…

  5. IanTheTerrible (10 comments.) Says:

    Brian,

    I'm glad that you were able to step back a bit and separate the visceral reaction Jews like you and I have to this nonsense from your capacity for calm rational thought. I think the argument you present above is hard to dispute, regardless of one's particular lineage or preexisting biases. I think the next step is to either gather signatures in petition or ask Facebook to employ the democratic process to which they pay so much lip service and hold some kind of vote. Congratulations on harnessing the power of the internet as a medium for the spread of civil debate and instrument of change. I can't wait to see what happens next!

  6. Rob Says:

    Dear Frank, You are clueless. So we come across hate speech we should ignore it? Let it continue? You seem to have all the answers, so what is your solution??

    So, let me get this right, trying to stop hate speech, in your mind, is "mongering hate". I would love to hear you attempt to explain that one…

  7. Andy G Says:

    I like people who take a stand. There are many more forums that allow discussions the same as FB does on their website….but those forums are not as significant as FB.

    FB is attempting to portray one thing, yet operate the opposite. I'm glad to see someone take the bull by the horns and call their bluff.

    I know many people find this a boring, meaningless argument, but this same topic was a once the main substance of our World being at war. An absurd amount of innocent lives were lost during the Holocaust, as well as an absurd amount of service men's lives lost trying to stop the Holocaust.

    In saying that, I believe it is well worth your time and effort Brian.

    "Where there is no man – be a man".

  8. jon b (1 comments.) Says:

    I'm all in, have you started a facebook group to voice this opinion?

  9. Maya (1 comments.) Says:

    Thanks for posting this, Brian. I agree with this and the larger point — that transparency, or lack thereof, is a real issue for FB. This has been a recurring theme for the company, one that's become a real growing pain. With product launches, it's translated into wonky user experiences, but with something as serious as this, it can translate into corporate irresponsibility.

  10. @evilpais (1 comments.) Says:

    while i think the concept of holocaust denail is absurd.

    We could use this information to make one big bad people website which would combine the names of these people along with the sex offender database? Or we could program a FaceBook App to automatically flag these people yet allow them to be sent a daily factoid about the holocaust, within the guidelines of FaceBook TOS of course

  11. zato Says:

    What ever happens to you in life is your own fault. If you are attacked – it is YOUR fault. You probably don't remember, but you CHOSE your life. You chose to be here at this time. You, the REAL you, chose your parents. You chose who you are and where you live. And every step of your life, you chose. So you are responsible. Blaming and accusing others is for children.

  12. AdolfWHitler Says:

    Facebook is not answering because it is itself part of a Jewish plot to rule the world. (Kidding.)

  13. Ragman Says:

    Brian
    Thanks for taking up the challenge to stop these fraudulent groups that pretend to discuss a subject when the real agenda is anti-Semitism. Face book should be ashamed for supporting these groups by lack of action in denying them the use of FB as a forum.
    The right of free speech is not to be used to allow a group to yell fire in a crowded theater. In other words, to just engender hate and bigotry under the guise of intelligent discussion. And if not legally certainly FB has an obligation morally to not support these groups.

  14. Gavin Says:

    Why is debating the Holocaust racist and hateful?

  15. Chris Says:

    though I sympathise with your cause, isn't it time to move on Brian? The Russians did after Stalin (and many more died…up to 25m people). Forgiveness is difficult, but if you were able to to forgive, that would simply demonstrate your superiority.

    Or if you can't do that, instead of attacking, why not engage? After all, all you're doing here is giving a small group of extremist morons a hell of a lot of publicity.

  16. bcuban Says:

    While I do not have an exact quote, I would bet the ranch someone said that exact same thing about Hitler when he was a nobody…

  17. heather in sf Says:

    I completely agree and think you are taking the right tack. Why of course this is open to debate is completely baffling until it hit me: it’s all about money and traffic. The more contoversy on FB equals traffic, “buzz” and ultimately money. Do they allow other hate dialogue on their site? The whole thing makes me want to take a shower.

  18. longleggy1 Says:

    I monitor censorship on FB since the breastfeeding images scandal. I pushed the envelope flashing a wee bit of nipple during a self breast exam photo on my profile shot, had my account deleted, appealed, then it was reinstated.

    “It’s a difficult decision to make. We have a lot of internal debate and we bring in experts to talk about it,” Schnitt said. “Just being offensive or objectionable doesn’t get it taken off Facebook. We want it [the site] to be a place where people can discuss all kinds of ideas, including controversial ones.”

    I think creating a FB group is an interesting suggestion, but only if your friends log on regularly and check their apps. This is not an issue to be ignored though. It’s hateful and certainly violates TOS for being more objectionable and offensive than my breast does. It is obviously meaningful to you, so garner your support and keep moving forward.

  19. Ross Says:

    It's not debating the Holocaust, it's the denial of it and using that denial to perpetrate an unfounded theory of the Holocaust being faked to furthur "Jewish World Dominance". Taking their theory to the next logical step, we should hate mentally and physically disabled people, since Aktion T4 (in which Hitler convinced Germany that the disabled should be euthanized, and in which gas chamber and other mass death means were perfected, resulting in an estimated 250,000 disabled children's deaths) was nothing more than an elaborate hoax perpetrated by the disabled to ultimately dominate the world.

  20. manbearpig Says:

    This logic doesn't go nearly as far as you want it to.

  21. ban_censorship Says:

    At what point do you draw the line? Holocaust denial is an absurdity, as most anyone with half a rational thought will attest to, but by censoring something like holocaust denial groups, you are opening a can of worms you can't close again.

    Is the atheist group I'm a member of promoting 'hate speech' because we laugh at religion and all of it's absurdities? Just an example.

    In the end, why not just ignore these groups and go about your business. Banning them from Facebook will have exactly zero material effect on the people who subscribe to that stupid twisted view of history — in fact, it might just give them the confirmation that they are looking for, that everyone really IS against them.

    Or, put your money where your mouth is, and just stop supporting Facebook.

    Just my .02 cents.

  22. Erik ahrsjo Says:

    I would also like to know why holocaust denial/revisionism/etc nececeraly constitutes anti semitism, even if it is based skewed and/or stupid facts, can it not be motivated by other things ? ancestral loyalty, conspiracy theory, mainstream skeptics, sensationalism, falsification

  23. Jake Says:

    I totally agree!

    They should also ban groups that question Christianity, Islam, and those that want to Free Tibet.

  24. Timothy Says:

    Brian, move on and quit over-playing and exxagerating this issue (i.e. Get a life or career or family or hobby or anything positive). You are a real downer and time waster. How about supporting a charitable cause with this same effort and energy. As a fellow Jew, I know of many needy organizations who would appreciate your POSITIVE efforts. By the way, how were you and I effected by any of this, or how might we be in the future?

  25. Archon Says:

    Free speech is not actually Free speech unless we are able to tolerate all forms of speech, including those we disagree with. Censorship is the easy path to take. It is weak, not strong.

  26. Sim Says:

    I can tell what happened to me some time ago. As part of an internal joke between me and a friend I linked to a web page belonging to Hezbollah. The correspondence between us was al of an innocent nature of course. And this was in a private message.
    Well, some weeks later my friend tells me facebool censored away my post. I checked, and yes, the contents of my pm that contained the Hezbollah link was gone, replaced with some mod text saying removed bla-bla.

    This tells me two things. First, facebook systematically monitors PMs. This is serious enough. Second, they are willing to censor PMs. A non-public message, viewable by two users, was censored.

    Why they then are so tolerant to public hate groups baffles me.

  27. DB1 Says:

    My grandfathers both fought in WWII. I find that time in history personally very interesting and I believe the holocaust was a tragedy for all time.

    End of disclaimer.

    Censor one, censor all. This is a slippery slope. People will hate you for your race, religion, whatever; it doesn't matter who you are or what you believe. Neither the interests of this author nor the fact he writes letters to Facebook warrant replies. If they don't want to reply, oh well. And if you're faulting Facebook for being a capitalist entity in a "free society" then live out your beliefs and move to a socialist country (although those lines are blurring every day).

    There are many questionably moral (of course everyone defines their morality according to what suits them best and best placates their vices) pastimes and interests. If we start censoring things we find offensive and "dirty" then we open the door for others to censor the things we believe in which offends them.

    But everyone needs a cause in life, regardless of how impractical their attention to such matters is.

    Soldier on, soldier on.

  28. Achim (1 comments.) Says:

    Hi Brian,

    I am from Germany, live in Munich, 30 kilometers from Dachau and have several comments:

    Firstly, the issue is not the Holocaust itself, since that question has been answered in the most atrocious matter possible millions of times. Calling it a controversial issue is adding insult to injury.

    Secondly, most people will agree that crimes against humanity are numerous, but that does not make one individual crime against humanity more 'acceptable' or less relevant.

    Thirdly, it is irrelevant that these groups don't have many members today. There were not millions of Nazis as of day one, like any other movement they grew over time.

    Fourthly, movements need platforms to grow by being able to address and 'convince' large audiences. That is incidentally one fundamental principle for the success of social networks like Facebook.

    So for me a major point worth debating is whether you can you cop out of a 'moral obligation' when effectively running and controlling a social network with some 200 million members?

    Freedom of speech doesn't mean looking away!

  29. James Robertson Says:

    This sounds like a reasonable position, until you figure out how many "hate" groups will be next in line. If Facebook is forced to make content decisions based on this kind of criteria, then it's open season for the most easily offended (on nearly any topic you can think of).

    The better answer is ridicule. Rather than taking these groups seriously – as you are – why not try the time tested "point and laugh" approach? Holocaust deniers are like 9/11 "truthers" – they crave attention. Deny them that, and ridicule them when they do come up.

  30. Luis Pereira (1 comments.) Says:

    How about creating groups on facebook called Holocaust Survivors and Holocaust Victims to counter the ridiculous thoughts and claims of Holocaust Denial? Censorship in any form is detrimental to the fundamentals of our values and our freedom as individuals to choose and think for ourselves.

  31. ndwheel05 (2 comments.) Says:

    Are you saying that a person should not have the right to dislike or hate another or to voice that view point? That if one voices his dislike for another, or voices that which others find offensive, that person should be therefore removed from social networking sites such as "facebook"? If that is the case than you would also advocate the removal of Christian groups because they offend some non-christian groups. You would also advocate the removal of Jewish groups as some non-jews are offended. I am personally offended by groups that support the Dallas Mavericks as I am a Celtics fan, should those groups therefore be removed?

  32. Steve Says:

    Wrong. You obviously didn't see the page.

  33. ndwheel05 (1 comments.) Says:

    I have yet to see a group that didn't offend someone at one time or another. If all groups that contained offensive content were removed from social networking sites, the site wouldn't exist. You are offended that some booger eating morons feel the need to deny the Holocaust, and you should be. I too am offended. But to remove these groups of idiots for their ignorant views is to remove all groups with opposite viewpoints.
    Many White people are offended that President Barack Obama has all but denied his "white" heritage in refering to himself as the nations first "Black" President, should anyone who agrees with President Obama be removed from facebook?
    Rather than prohibiting people from voicing their beliefs regardless of how ignorant we may think they are, shouldn't we, as Americans who always say people should have the right to speak freely, not complain when they do? (Note: I'm not saying anyone has the RIGHT to speak freely on facebook)
    Facebook allows us the oportunity to rebut. I suggest that we take advantage of it .

  34. bcuban Says:

    You are no fellow of mine. You bring shame to all Jews world wide.

  35. George Snell (1 comments.) Says:

    I think the problem is that Facebook rep Barry Schnitt is lumping Holocaust Denial groups in with other groups promoting controversial ideas. There's no controversy here. There's nothing to deny. The Holocaust happened. This is like a group claiming the Vietnam War was fought on a sound stage in order to promote hatred of Vietnamese people. This isn't a free speech problem – Facebook is a private company. If the groups want to put up their own pages on the Web – go for it. But Facebook should remove them immediately.

  36. proxy04 Says:

    Hmmm…

    Denying a part of history constitutes hate to a specific race. So much so they made it illegal in some countries. Just because its legal that makes it right. That’s right, even a history professor can’t talk or discuss openly about it.

    Of course, that’s a privilege only Jews could have, cause, as y’all know they are the best race in the planet. If you don’t know that now, well you better learn, or else….

  37. anndraya Says:

    Chris I would add to Brian's comment that nobody is denying Stalin killed 25 m. Nor are they saying those victims staged their deaths as a hoax to gain further power and continue to be a disease upon the earth. The mentality/belief of Holocaust deniers isn't so much a problem as the motivation for their stance – propagation of hatred, which can so easily spiral to hatred. Having recently watched one more survivor share his story at great personal cost, with the added burden on his tired old soul that many people claim his experience never happened – he didn't lose his entire family, watch an SS dash a newborn baby against a train because it was crying, have his best friend shot as he stood beside him, suffer those years in Auschwitz on 2 pieces of bread a day dragging the dead bodies down for roll call every morning – well, that's crazy making. That's what abusers do, on a personal level, to their victims – to keep them disempowered and unbalanced. "That never happened. It's you. You're crazy. You're a liar." Then their energy goes into trying to engage that. But there is no safehouse for survivors and descendants to flee to.

  38. Laine75206 (1 comments.) Says:

    I shouldn't even bother responding b/c you correlating being a Celtics fan/being offended by groups that support the Mavericks…and Holocaust Denial Groups…is just so absolutely absurd, but I'm going to. Do you have a brain? Do you really think that that is a logical/rational comparison? Did you actually think about what you wrote before you typed it, or…?__We're not talking about Holocaust Denial Groups simply being offensive. Have you visited any of these groups, sites? I have and they are disgusting. They spew hatred, violence and vulgarity. And yes, some even call for action, physical hostile action against Jews. They incite violence are racist and should be taken down. __Make a logical correlation and I'll listen to your debate. Comparing HDG's and being offended by the Mavericks…Grow up and get a clue!

  39. Stu Says:

    Congrats on giving more exposure, therefore sympathy, therefore support to groups such as this. If random, narcissistic, attention-craving nobodies such as yourself continue to make a big deal out of this then it will continue. I haven't seen Zuckerberg or anyone else for that matter state that they are denying the Holocaust, just that it is a difficult subject for FB and they are dealing with it as best they can. Please, please, please go and get a life. Go outside. Go and fish or go for a run. There is a whole world out there that deserves a lot more attention than this, or is it just easier because you don't have to leave your iMac in Mommy's basement to write tripe that a handful of media-infuenced pea-brains will jump all over.

  40. anndraya Says:

    What I most wanted to post was merely a link to an image of a mountain of shoes from one of the concentration camps: Your last comment is quite alarming. I live within a block of a synagogue that was recently graffiti'ed, threatened, and fire-bombed (yes, I live in North America).

    The rest of your diatribe is simply judgmental, pompous, and incendiary. It would be better if you followed it with, "in fact I could really use a donation for the charity I have founded for _______ which I work at the rest of the time when I am not busy criticizing people taking action against global injustices, abuses and issues of public safety for those who have no voice, or are too disempowered to speak up any longer."

  41. anndraya Says:

    But here's an answer from an unbiassed source, to your last question.
    "There is much that continues to be compelling in the exploration of the Holocaust and its impact on the lives of survivors and their children. To begin with, these studies keep alive the memory of the millions who were killed. For Jews, the admonition to remember is a core principal of religious belief. For a Jew, to remember is an act of piety, a holy act that joins past with present that commemorates and memorializes. For non Jews, such remembrance bears witness to the horrors of the Nazi murder apparatus and raises a powerful moral and political voice against state organized and approved acts of racism, injustice and cruelty wherever and whenever they occur."

    Excerpts from: International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 18:114-115 (1991).

  42. Craig Says:

    Great post!

    People seem to forget that prior to the Wannsee Conference (and even after?) Josef Goebbels never publicly actually called for the murder of Jews, rather he relentlessly attacked them for being "vermin, sub-human, conniving, enemies of the German people, money grubbing, etc." and in print and film physically depicted them as such. He was fully aware of what he was doing: setting it up so a large portion of society would take it to the next level, which was the Holocaust. You see the same thing today when so-called Christians beat up on gays, saying "Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin" while comparing gays to pedophiles, satanists, and "abnormal" people who would "destroy *your* marriage and family". The parallels are truly disturbing, and every gay bashing/killing is an output of that hate speech.

  43. anndraya Says:

    There are standard exceptions to free speech, for instance “libel'', “slander'', “threats'', and “community standards.''

    Holocaust Denial, anti-semitism, racism, death threats, destruction of property, propagation of hatred, the perversion of history when there are still living eye-witnesses/eye-accounts – is calling this unacceptable "censorship"?

    Free speech doesn't mean you can say whatever the #$#@$ you want without consequence, it is merely a protection of the individual right to expression…until the point it impinges on the rights and safeties of others.

  44. Craig Says:

    I might add that the Nazis took great pains to keep the true nature and extent of the Holocaust hidden from the rest of the German population, knowing full well that even with the hate propaganda the vast majority of Germans would have been utterly appalled at what was being done.

  45. Ardsgaine (2 comments.) Says:

    Should Facebook also block advocates of communism from forming discussion groups in which they will propagate theories that served as the rationale for subjugating entire nations, and slaughtering 100 million innocent people?

    Or, another of my pet peeves, how about the apologists for the Confederacy? Aren't they just a gateway to more virulent racist groups?

    How far do you think Facebook ought to go in asserting their view of what is right, rather than letting their customers debate these questions themselves?

  46. Ardsgaine (2 comments.) Says:

    Not only are you on a potentially slippery slope, but you are denying any objective basis for stopping the slide. You claim that the question is "innately subjective," so any decision the owners of Facebook made is as good, logically, as any other. According to you, it's all a matter of their personal opinion. We already know what their personal opinion is, and it's their company, so that doesn't leave much else to debate, does it?

    In order to make this fly, you have to step back from your own personal feelings, and come up with an objective moral principle on which you think Facebook ought to act–one that can be applied across the board– and explain why it trumps the ideal of open debate that they are advocating.

  47. Todd Sieling (1 comments.) Says:

    In the end, while well-argued, the argument is still to remove speech that you don't agree with. Having opinions, even offensive ones, discussed in the open is part and parcel of a free and healthy society. If you want a society where a technologically-elite decides what is and isn't allowed to be discussed in the open, then you open the door to all sorts of abuses that far outweigh the costs of knowing that upsetting rhetoric is out there in the world.

  48. Andrew Says:

    Not exact, but reminiscent of Neville Chamberlain choosing to allow the Germans to annex Sudentenland to Germany, and happily applauding "peace in our time." Churchill quipped, "You were given a choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishoner and you will have war." Guess who was right?

    The ostrich approach is clearly not the right angle here.

    The larger issue is that FB has chosen to act a censor to their community (IE Breastfeeding!!!), but are consciously NOT choosing to censor holocaust denial. Therein lies the problem.

  49. IanTheTerrible (10 comments.) Says:

    This does not follow, and you know it.

  50. IanTheTerrible (10 comments.) Says:

    No, and your comparison of religion/ethnicity to sports loyalty is offensive in itself.

  51. Darrell English Says:

    Hi Mark.
    If you need any help with this subject about Holocaust Denial Groups feel free to get intuch with me
    Thay are out of place and have no base in historical fact.I have been useing my vast collection to help
    the young understand what happen from 1933-1945.

    Thanks Darrell English

  52. Amy in Massachusetts Says:

    Are you serious? Have you gone to these "pages" and seen what people are writing? Do you even know what the Holocaust is?

  53. IanTheTerrible (10 comments.) Says:

    Two quick thoughts:
    1) If you make an ad hominem attach (as at least half of y'all are doing), your argument largely discredits itself.

    2) There is a frightening undercurrent to many of these posts that somehow Jews brought this on themselves, they ask for special privileges, etc. First of all, what is a Jew? To the Nazis, the faintest trace of "Jewish" blood made one fully Jewish. To many, being Jewish was not a choice, and is still not in the eyes of many. Ask the Jews in Iran, for instance. That is why these comparisons to voluntary religious affiliation or other voluntary group membership are not accurate. A simple illustration: Although I have Jewish ancestry, I wouldn't have considered myself as such until maybe 5 years ago. Even then, however, I would have most certainly have been hauled away by the Gestapo.

    3) I don't think Jews ask for any treatment that other ethnic minorities do not. That is the key here; forget about religion and it all makes sense.

  54. Meme Says:

    Some people need to put on their big kid pants and pay more attention to their own life than trying to police others. So what if there is a group on facebook that you don't like? It's not your site, you didn't make it.
    I can't stand religion and I feel it forms more hate than anything in this world, but I don't go around whining and having religious groups taken down just because I don't like it. Just because you think it's offensive, doesn't mean others do. I can't stand the KKK, along with millions of others, but guess what? They (sadly) still have free speech.

    If you don't like it, don't look at it. Plain and simple. Stop causing drama, and making the rest of the human race look like a bunch of whiny, dripping cunts.

  55. Brian Says:

    If denying that the Holocaust happened is "hate speech", then so is denying evolution or denying the existence of a god. Wake up people, I don't like Holocaust deniers, but as long as they don't promote violence, their speech is protected by the 1st amendment of the United States Constitution, Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights to name a few.

  56. Sling Says:

    Let's talk to the 9-11 survivors. Talk to someone that was in the 9-11 tragedy. Now, let's say – it never happened. That's what you are telling someone who went through the Holocaust, saw it, experienced it — that it didn't happen. How obsurb.

  57. steveplunkett (2 comments.) Says:

    Brian,

    If i make a racist post, using the "N" word (sorry for using this horrible word as an example) YOU can choose to remove it form your blog.. if i make a post that is defamatory to women, you can choose to remove it from this blog.

    i'm sure FaceBook would remove those too..

    However.. those acts are NOT criminalized like the holocaust stuff in X # of countries…

    I understand all you are trying to do is ask facebook to make this same chioce.

    In the name of human decency… keep it up.. even us "gentiles" support you.

  58. daryll (1 comments.) Says:

    I'm not a lawyer, so any legal opinion in this comment is strictly my interpretation and should not be construed as advice, and I probably have many legal facts wrong.

    Hate speech is illegal and should be stopped. Facebook (FB) has to do what it can to prevent crimes from occurring. It violates their terms of service and at some point knowingly ignoring it becomes supporting illegal activities. It appears that to date FB has taken the approach that if something is illegal in one country that they block it there, and if it is widely illegal they take it down completely.

    While it seems clear that there is a lot of anti-Semitism involved with holocaust denial, I'm not sure I agree that it couldn't be done without hate speech. That would make it not illegal, but offensive to a large number of people. I think having FB shut down offensive content is a much harder line to draw for a number of reasons.

    Since we started with legal issues, I'll bring them up again. There are protections provided by the law for common carriers. The are protected from the actions of their users, because they don't make any attempt to control the content. This was originally aimed at telephone companies, to protect them from their users doing illegal things on the phone, but has been interpreted broadly to cover internet companies as well. It the the protection ISPs and YouTube uses for copyrighted material, for example. It seems that as soon as FB starts removing offensive, but not illegal content they open themselves up to losing that common carrier status.

    Once they start removing offensive content, they need to start doing it throughout their site. There's nothing stopping the users from creating new accounts, so this game of cat and mouse will consume a significant amount of resources by FB.

    If they lose common carrier status they also become liable for copyright infringement issues. The DMCA gives common carriers easy ways of dealing with infringement rather than being treated like their are infringing themselves. That means even more effort checking content to see if it is legal.

    The next problem is that by removing content that isn't illegal they open themselves up to civil lawsuits. The users who own the content can pretty easily make a claim that removing their content wasn't "fair." They'll be able to point to other content that wasn't removed as evidence.

    Finally you run in to the question of what's offensive? What else should FB remove other than holocaust denial sites? What populations need to be offended for the pages to be removed? I'm not sure FB can or should be the arbiter of what is or is not offensive. I'm not arguing free speech or censorship. You are right that these only apply to governments. FB can do whatever they want with their service. I'm just not sure that having them decide what can or can't be included is a good idea.

    I'll list a few grey areas that are tough. Pornography comes up regularly. Our country can't define it and leaves it to local enforcement. The Maplethorp exhibits are a perfect example. What about discussions of hacking? For example, modifying video equipment/software to allow fair use of content? Instructions on how to pick locks?

    Facebook's approach of waiting for a complaint with legal implications and then handling it seems like the only feasible way for them to proceed. It also avoids the problem of them having to decide what's offensive and what isn't.

  59. Brian Says:

    Sure, it’s a ridiculous stance and there is overwhelming evidence against them, but there is overwhelming evidence that vaccines don’t cause autism and I don’t see anyone banning Jenny McCarthy from Facebook. Personally, I’d actually prefer a Holocaust denier to someone who is killing children to get publicity for herself.

  60. Dede (4 comments.) Says:

    Thanks Brian for continuing this fight to get Facebook to get their heads out of their a….s!!! We have to stand strong against hatred for all groups! I personally don't know anyone that would reject the events of the Holocaust but if we don't nip it on Social Networks, that mindset can spread very rapidly.
    Moreover, Facebook probably represents a much younger audience, at least until the past few years and they have not been exposed to as much information on the Holocaust. We just don't need this mentality on any site, let alone a site that has the potential to reach hundreds of million of people!

  61. TEXASMADE1978 (3 comments.) Says:

    You have lost your mind. So you mean to tell me that a little kid asks to get molested, I don't think so. So in your mind me as a sperm cell Idecided who's fallopian tube I was going to swim up and which egg I was going to wiggle into. You are one of the most brilliant minds on the face of the Earth, I think you should be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, lol. So remember when something bad happens to one of your loved ones , it is their fault no matter what (God forbid something does). This stupidity is what give us Americans a bad name.

  62. (from work) Says:

    Holocaust denial is NOT the same as denying evolution or the existance of God.

    Evolution is a theory (well-proven, but a theory). Existance of God is a faith. Everone is entitled to his/her personal opinion regarding these beliefs, and has the right to convince others or not.

    The Holocaust is not a theory, nor a faith, nor any other kind of belief. The Holocaust is historical fact; witnessed by individuals who are still alive (though young denyers can hardly wait for their eventual death) and evidenced by artifacts that were not hastily destroyed at the end of the war.

    However, as hateful and incidious as it is, Holocaust denial just might be protected by the laws and rules you cite. I am only disputing that Holocaust denial is as hate-free as the evolution/creationist and theist/atheist dabates.

  63. TEXASMADE1978 (3 comments.) Says:

    It will never be time to move on, when things like this happen the worst thing you can do is just move on. If you as you say just move on, as proved before history will repeat itself.

  64. TEXASMADE1978 (3 comments.) Says:

    For one reason there is nothing to debate about the Holocaust. If there is something debatable about it , I should would like to know which parts of it are. The fact is the Holocaust happened and some of the morons on FB are not debating it ,they are denying it and spewing even more hate.

  65. David Ashkenazi Says:

    I am a polish Jew and my grandfather went through the camps and he said there where no gas chambers it was a lie of the Russians under Stalin and Marxism. I listen to many prominent jews who are also ANTI-ZIONIST Norm Finkelstein,normanfinkelstein.com how is a great man his life ruined by pro- Zionist HATERS.. Men like Noam Chomsky don't believe the Shoah lies nor do I.
    OUR FREEDOM OF SPEECH", ISN'T TO PROTECT KIND SPEECH NO ONE NEEDS PROTECTION FROM KIND SPEECH..
    FREEDOM OF SPEECH IS TO SHARE VIEWS NO ONE AGREES WITH AND WILL OFFEND..
    YOUR ANTI AMERICAN MY CUBAN YOU AND YOUR BROTHER..
    I am ashamed at what I know as a jew what our people have done to the great country's Christians and there freedoms sir..

  66. altagato (8 comments.) Says:

    Brian
    Thanks for your reply to Steve and to this issue in general…
    'no one can make us into bystanders without our consent'

    To 'Steve' and anyone else that thinks that Brian is the culprit for even bringing this up.

    Thanks for your flippant, and frankly ignorant, statement.

    I don't know what kind of person you are, but I hope that you don't honestly believe people should just 'shut up' when they see something being done that they believe is (and is) inherently wrong…

    'no one would even know about these groups if you didn't keep harping on it'
    1) yes, people would know because it's being demonstrated on a public site and across various other 'forums' around the world
    people would know about it because they're out spreading their propoganda as you're sitting at your computer being a comment troll

  67. altagato (8 comments.) Says:

    2) I sincerely challenge other people to 'keep harping on it'. I recently visited the USHMM in DC and this sort of thing is EXACTLY they ask of the thousands of people that visit everyday… to NOT keep quiet about it EVER

    Besides the foundation for the USHMM, the Presdient himself commented about the notion to just keep quiet (and people like you who endorse it) about such undesirable subjects, on Holocaust Remembrance Day…
    'In the face of horrors that defy comprehension, the impulse to silence is understandable.' Obama
    AND
    ''To this day, there are those who insist the Holocaust never happened, who perpetrate every form of intolerance — racism and anti- Semitism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism and more — hatred that degrades its victim and diminishes us all.
    Today and every day, we have an opportunity as well as an obligation to confront these scourges…'

  68. altagato (8 comments.) Says:

    I'd apologize for '3' comments but I don't care

    I encourage you to read or watch the rest of the speech (and Remembrance day) here:
    http://www.ushmm.org/remembrance/dor/webcast/
    Then, I encourage you to encourage anyone else you know to do so and to visit the Museum and to never cross something like this off your list of 'things to remember'.

    Steve, I won't 'shut up' either.

  69. Timothy Says:

    And again Brian, be a POSITIVE force and do something with yourself, really! And you are correct, I am no fellow of yours, I am too positive, constructive and educated for you.
    By saying I am a disgrace to all Jews, aren't you exibiting the same hatred you are protesting? You are a disgrace to many things, but mainly just being an adult with common sense.
    Thanks for your childish behavior & personality, and again GET A LIFE and stop living off your brother's fame, you are a real nobody without him.

  70. altagato (8 comments.) Says:

    Hmmm.. Why would someone deny the holocaust was a political hate group (in government control) destroying the lives of millions across Europe and Russia…
    if you can't figure it out then do some research yourself and quit being lazy.

  71. DrAwkwArD (1 comments.) Says:

    Brian,

    In the spirit of making sure everyone is following international law, I'd like you to spearhead the removal of Christian groups on Facebook as Facebook is now available in Arabic and in Saudi Arabia where promoting religions other than Islam is illegal.

    Thanks,

    DrAwkwArD

    http://www.SeriouslyWTF.info

  72. Bob Says:

    What's really interesting about this whole thing is why Holocaust deniers? Why pick that specific group out of all the groups on Facebook to attack. Sure, they are a bunch of idiots, but there are plenty of other groups who are much worse. This group is just enough on the fringe that it's a lose-lose proposition for Facebook. Remove the groups and face criticism for censorship, leave them and face criticism for supporting anti-semitism. Either way they alienate part of their audience. Nobody made a peep about removing neo-nazi pages because they openly promote violence, but Holocaust deniers just say nothing happened. That certainly seems like free speech, doesn't it? The comments on this post are demonstrative of the split in opinions over this issue. So why this group, Brian? And why now? Personally, I think the motive has nothing to do with anti-semitism.

  73. Tom Says:

    I find this ironic that Brian Cuban wants to employ Nazi/Communist style tactics to suppress freedom of speech from a tiny group of neo Nazis. One of the chances you have to take with the constitutional right of free speech is that people with looney ideas are going to have a public platform. Why worry about a bunch of Neanderthal political fringe kooks who want to deny historical facts. They cannot back up their claims in a open debate. I can speak with great authority about this, I had family members murdered by both the Nazis and Communists.

  74. bcuban Says:

    Bob

    That is a fair question. I will be happy to explain to all what the motivation was. I will be writing about it.

    All The Best

    Brian Cuban

  75. Dede (4 comments.) Says:

    Well please keep up the fight. I admire someone who has convictions and will carry through with them. I tend to feel the same way and it is not always a trait that is admired but it is just me! Best of luck!

  76. Dede (4 comments.) Says:

    Are you kidding?? Then what happened to over 6 million people. You cannot be for real!! I am not Jewish but have read and seen much of what the Nazis did. You are either just an anti-zionist or a complete idiot! I don't normally trade insults online but this post has really infuriated me!

  77. Raj Says:

    I think the world needs to awake. I personally believe and acknowledge the fact that Holocaust happened. I agree Hitler killed millions of Jews. Now it is time to get over it. Did you all know that more number of people died under Mao Ze-Dong in China than that of holocaust? Did you all know that there were more deaths than holocaust in Russia under the murderous dictator Josef Stalin? Did you know how many died in Hiroshima & Nagasaki? I don't think you know those facts. Thousands of people are being killed everyday in Darfur. Thousands and thousands of tamils are being brutally exterminated in Sri Lanka.
    So is there any special conditions being created for these genocides mentioned above, like that is being done for the Jewish holocaust that happened half a century ago? The answer is no.
    The word "Holocaust" has become a political trump card. I would urge people to stop being more emotional about it. Since more and more 'unnecessary' rules and regulations have been put under the name of Holocaust, it triggers opposite reaction like holocaust deniers. Such groups mushroom due to exorbitant rules, actions and events that are happening even after 50years. This is too much. Jews were killed by Nazis . Ok, Agreed. Now Jews have their own land. Great, I'm happy for them and wish them Peace. End of the story. There are enough memorials around the world to remember the bad event. It is time to stop using it as a trump card. Let the world focus on current genocides and wars and make efforts to establish peace. I hope it makes sense.

  78. Because I'm right Says:

    You shut up, you ignorant asshole.

  79. bfetts (1 comments.) Says:

    Barry Schnitt stated:

    “It’s a difficult decision to make. We have a lot of internal debate and we bring in experts to talk about it,” Schnitt said. “Just being offensive or objectionable doesn’t get it taken off Facebook. We want it [the site] to be a place where people can discuss all kinds of ideas, including controversial ones."

    Great job Brian, but this shouldn't even be an issue. I mean the comment by Schnitt that We want it [the site] to be a place where people can discuss all kinds of ideas, including controversial ones." is so freakin idiotic! There is nothing to discuss about the most documented crime of the 20th century! The Nazi's kept meticulous records of all of their heinous acts! Get that rubbish off of FB! The fact that society even discusses whether or not the Holocaust happened is very troubling, wake up everyone.

  80. Andy The Beerman Says:

    First of all I am not a Jew. Although some say I am "Jew-ish". As someone raised in the Catholic faith, I find many of these modern day religion haters hiding behind Atheism offensive. Much of what spews from their mouths and keyboards is hate speech as well. While I will defend their right to believe as they choose, by denigrating and lashing out against your faith or mine, they are abrogating MY right to worship freely as defined in our Constitution. These Holocaust deniers are practicing a thinly veiled antisemitism. Just as some Atheists are practicing thinly veiled hate speech regarding religion, Christianity in particular. If you don't believe, that's your business, just as my right to believe is mine.

  81. lael36 (1 comments.) Says:

    Enabling an international forum for racism and bigotry promotes those concepts. Many studies have proven that the principle of social proof holds in all cultural contexts. People determine what is correct by finding out what other people deem correct. (Lun, J. et al., 2007 "Why do I think what you think" Journal of Personality and Social Psychology). In enabling a forum for debate over whether a proven and horrendous historical event happened, Facebook is actively the promoting denial of historical events and the atrocities associated with them. Perhaps if this was concerning a debate over whether or not the earth was flat, no one would be concerned, and no one would give credence to the purveyors. When it concerns the discrimination against an entire people, this is a completely different and morally profound matter. People base their actions on social evidence. In enabling an international audience to publically malign a specific group of people and historical events, Facebook is providing social proof that it is acceptable to behave this way and therefore creating more of this type of behavior in the world.

    Forget lawyers, the experts that Facebook seem to have completely left out of the consultation loop are socio-psychologists would would tell them that their policy is directly promoting hatred. As a graduate student in media psychology, I can tell you that we should all be deeply concerned about the power of social networking to be the biggest generator of hatred and promoter of violence that the world has ever experienced. Everyone should get very educated about the many studies that have shown the devastating results of failing to marginalize purveyors of violence and biogtry, historical revisionism and group scape-goating.

    This is not about free speech, this is about a private company and every advertiser on Facebook providing economic and technical support for hatred and bigotry.

    What would the debate look like if it was concerning the denial slavery in the US and called African Americans monkeys, pigs and other racist epithets?

  82. IanG (14 comments.) Says:

    Brian,

    To a certain extent–hasn't your own blog become an "international forum for racism and bigotry" with regard to the comments on these posts? I mean, people are literally debating the veracity of the Holocaust right here on this page and others….

    I'm sure you're glad to see that Damjanjuk has finally arrived in Germany . It's interesting to consider the way this trial relates to this Facebook dustup and the larger question of Holocaust denial. Consider the following from the NYT:

    Thomas Blatt, 82, who was a prisoner at Sobibor at the same time Mr. Demjanjuk has been accused of having worked there as a guard, said the trial itself was more important than meting out any punishment. “I don’t care if he is released; I do care about his testimony,” said Mr. Blatt, who now lives in California and has written two books about his experiences. “There’s many people right now who say the Holocaust never happened.”

  83. bcuban Says:

    Not at all, I see it as a stark reminder to all of the all the idiots in the world. I also agree that the trial is more important than any punishment. This iwll be probably the last chance for survivors to tell their stories in the national spotlight. A trial is a must, we must never forget…

  84. Seang Says:

    Ok, this would be funny if it wasn’t so serious. As far as I know, facebook is still cancelling accounts of women who have pictures of themselves breastfeeding their children because it’s deemed offensive. But holocaust denieds are allowed to encourage robust discussion? Puhleeze. If facebook is not an open forum, fine. But let’s be clear about what obscenity really is, and it’s not mommies and their babies.

  85. Al the Pal Says:

    The reason that we cannot just ignore an absurdity like this is because this plants the seeds for violence in the COMING GENERATIONS. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was part of a chapter in a book, yet a few generations after its publication it was the basis of hate for MILLIONS of people, including Hitler.

    If the small insignificant community of deniers is given the forum, it is likely that they will spread the doubt of the existence of this historically significant event. Anti-semitism on my college campus went from minimal to very noticable within a matter of the last 9 months, it is growing across the world. Giving these people the benefit of saying that it is plausible to deny the holocaust, is indirectly accepting it as valid argument.

  86. Al the Pal Says:

    If this is seen as a valid argument, the number of believers will grow. In a few years all those who were tortured (real torture) and those that liberated and witnessed with their own eyes the emaciated faces of innocents WILL BE GONE. There will be no more direct observers to the facts. Without that all you will have are two sides, Believers and Deniers. If the deniers can be given legitimacy while Elie Wisel is still alive, imagine how much more legitimate deniers could seem.

    I would never want to live in a world like that, a world were a significant portion of the population believes that the Holocaust was a conspiracy for Jewish Power (it was for power, not Jewish, but for national socialistic power), it would be an insult to humanity to see the minds of so many people warped to believe in such garbage

  87. Jonathan Says:

    As a Jew, a fan of free speech, and a fan of Facebook, I find the existence of these groups disturbing. There is a fine line between open dialogue, and open incitement. These groups are haters, inciters, and worst of all, are trying to rewrite proven history in order to educate youngsters through a very hip channel of communication. As far as discussing Israeli-Pali relations……Do yourself a favor and don't even bother forming an opinion about a subject that can and will not ever be solved. This is the Middle-East, and not a lot has changed in behavioral patterns here since the 6th century.

  88. hawk Says:

    this is all about whose ox is being gored. Denying free speech or calling certain speech hate speech has no beginning and no end. I am offended when right wing christian believers are constantly abused but I dont want anyone shutting it down. shut down holocaust deniers first and next thing you know we will shut down climate change deniers and all sorts of politically incorrect coments. I think most homosexuals are anarchists but would you deny me my right to think and say that?

  89. Scott M. Says:

    How ironic that free speech isn't okay if it is directed at certain groups, but when it is directed at Jews and Christians it's all well and good.

  90. Dory Says:

    Was it Facebook or was it Big Brother who censored your post?

  91. rtechie (1 comments.) Says:

    Brian,

    Look up Godwin's Law.

    Most of those posting, as well as Mark Zukerberg, believe in free speech. You clearly do not. You are involved with the Jewish Internet Defense Force, a group of Internet vigilantes that is trying to get all "anti-Jewish" material off the Internet, mainly through threats to hosting providers.

    More importantly, the JIDF is crazy. They accused President Barack Obama of being a terrorist, racist, and "anti-Semite". They also said he was a Muslim and a member of HAMAS.

    It seems to me the real perpetrator of hate here is you. You responded to this post:

    "As a fellow Jew, I know of many needy organizations who would appreciate your POSITIVE efforts. By the way, how were you and I effected by any of this, or how might we be in the future?"

    with this

    "You are no fellow of mine. You bring shame to all Jews world wide."

    Apparently you're just as down on Jews that don't agree with you as the Holocaust deniers.

  92. bcuban Says:

    I stand by what I said about that moron

  93. Chris Says:

    I just have one question. Why do they routinely ban all kinds of hate speech other then the holocaust denial? If you look at their history of policy enforcement, then the reasons they are handing out now don't hold water. It certainly does seem that a lot of the content they ban is decided primarily on whether it's offensive to the individual moderator at the time, and it doesn't take much more then some googling to see that past decisions have a definite bias.

    I'm not a proponent of banning holocaust denial groups, but don't tell me that you are allowing them because you want to foster open discussion. Based on what you have/have not banned in the past, that's simply not true. So is the Facebook leadership simply so blinded by their own biases they don't even see this, or are they outright lying?

  94. Max Says:

    Question: Since you equate this denial with hate, I wonder if you hate all other holocaust victims?

    By using the phrasing "the Holocaust" you implicitly deny the occurrence of other holocausts.

    There has not only been one holocaust in world history–so why do you modify your noun with "the" instead of a more accurate adjective.

  95. ccube Says:

    I suppose any type of racism is should be legal as well.

  96. Chris Says:

    Although I appreciate the spirit of this post, as well as the tone, I have to disagree.

    People creates lots of stupid and offensive groups on facebook. Holocaust denial (while extremely stupid) is merely an extension of this. Yes the group is offensive. Yes the group recalls an embarassing time in the history of the world, but such is life. As long as these groups are not engaging in a "call to action" or in some way directly facilitating group action, the group isn't causing any direct harm. With all due respect, the PC police need to chill out. If people have an issue with a group, don't join. Unfriend people that join, or better yet – don't read.

    The argument that these groups are bad because antisemetics join them is not only a poor reason to remove a group, but a prime example of why the group needs to stay. Your opposition to this group is, at least somewhat driven by a dislike for the members of the group. Demanding that speech be made more difficult for a group because you don't like the people or their messege (and or find it offensive) is the first step toward eliminating free discourse.

    Personally, I have a strong dislike for any religion that has ever used religion as a motivation for violence (which includes every major religion I can think of) but I don't get to go around demanding all groups related to these religions be taken down. Why? For one, because I'm in the minority, but additionally, because if a website did that we would see it as illegitimately restricting our speech/communication. Do we really want the criteria to be "you must boot somethign that offends a group unless there is a significant enough number of people that agree with you say?" That is essentially the argument being made here – we don't like what they say (because its wrong) and the people that say it are seen by most as bad people, so get rid of the groups." Wow, scarey. By that logic, 200 years ago a group talking about freeing slaves might be taken down, that's definately a path I want to go down.

    You don't agree with them. Good for you, that's not only your perogative but an intelligent reading of history. You don't like their view, it offends you and your religion, and it potentially offends your intelligence. I'm sorry to hear that, but deal with it. Every time I see a group about any variety of issues i'm annoyed and occassionally offended. Any time I see somebody that is a member of an "orthodox" religious group that to some degree asserts its correctness over other religious, I'm not only offended, but threatened and feel as certain they are wrong as you do about the Holocaust. I deal with it, you can to. The fact that more people agree with you doesn't make it right. The fact that you can trot out a more recent set of bad things that has happened to Jews than other religions doesn't give you any special privlige (remember Jews have persucuted for no reason just as they have been persecuted for no reason, as has almost every other religion I can think of). Unless they are serving as a meeting group for tangible threats to people, sit down shut up and let free discourse take its toll, but right now all you are advocating is content based censoring.

    So in summary, if you dont like it DONT JOIN THE GROUP, UNFRIEND THE PEOPLE, AND BLOCK YOUR FEED.

  97. Chauncey Billups Says:

    Brian:

    Do you wish to see other genocide denial groups removed from Facebook?
    What about the following?

    Armenian Genocide? Bulls**t!
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?sid=a8f234589a4

    Armenian Genocide Hoax (inspired by Holohoax, perhaps?)
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?sid=a8f234589a4

    no armenian genocide
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?sid=a8f234589a4

    Does the below-referenced wall post from the "no armenian genocide" group constitute hate speech, such that an addendum to your open letter re: other denialist facebook groups and an investigation by Facebook into groups other than those devoted to Holocaust denial specifically may be appropriate?

    "I am f***ing them who take this video as film on youtube!!!!!
    LISTEN PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD!!!! THIS IS THE MENTALITY OF ARMENIA AND ARMENIAN CRUELTY!!! THEY SHOWED THEIR GENETIC CRUELTY WHEN THEY MAKE GENOCIDE TOWARDS TURKS…SINCE HAVING LEADERSHIP OF OUR LEADER GREAT ATATURK ,THEY HAVE RANCOR!!! THEY ALL MUCK!!!!"

  98. martine s Says:

    what a terrible thing to say. I won't shut up either

  99. Ahem Says:

    FB is an American company. America has no Holocaust denial laws (and shouldn't have, due to it's microscopic part in WW2), unlike Europe, which has a long history of existential conflicts and antisemitism.

    Being and Israeli and a Jew which lost 36 members of my family during 1941-1944, I frankly couldn't care less if a bunch of Americans would like to hold hands and claim it didn't happen.
    If Poland, Russia, Germany or Italy would allow such groups, then I'd start having a problem.

  100. Eleonard Says:

    The reason why it necessarily constitutes anti-semitism is that the underlying premise of holocaust revisionism is that thousands of survivors and the Jews acting in concert across the world have invented a story out of whole cloth to manipulate the world into following their ends. It's not as if it happened centuries ago. There's no dispute there were camps, ovens, and survivors. If the Holocaust didn't happen, that means that survivors and Jews have played a hoax on the world. That's anti-semitic.

  101. Eleonard Says:

    I tend to agree, except that it seems here that Facebook does censor certain hate speech. By not censoring holocaust denial, they in effect are saying it's not hate speech when it is.

  102. Eleonard Says:

    Hmmm…. you don't understand that denying the holocaust constitutes hatred of Jews? If the holocaust didn't happen, then there are a whole bunch of Jews who are lying about it, hmmm? And if the holocaust didn't happen, and all those Jews are lying about it, then all those Jews somehow must have gotten together through some big network that everyone else doesn't know about to hatch this scheme, hmmm? And if the Jews all did that, then what are they trying to achieve by perpetrating the holocaust myth, hmmm? And it's pretty clear you, proxy04, are a holocaust denier, hmmm?

  103. Eleonard Says:

    That's not the point, though. Facebook isn't a free speech haven. Certain hate speech is banned. Holocaust denial is a form of anti-semitism which says that Jews have engaged in a massive conspiracy to manipulate the world's sympathies by lying about genocide committed against their people. If Facebook doesn't characterize this as hate speech that deserves to be banned from its site, what is it saying about Holocaust denial?
    Holocaust denial is not like communism. One can support communism without explicitly or implicitly hating any race or religion. Why don't you understand this? Why doesn't facebook?

  104. Eleonard Says:

    But Facebook is not advocating open debate. They ban the KKK from spewing hate. They ban other forms of racism. Why don't they ban holocaust denial?

  105. JPB Says:

    It is sad how far we have devolved in the last decade in terms of our conviction to the values upon which this country was founded. I won't draw a line from one to another, particularly because I do not think one exists, but it frankly amazes me that a country that was founded upon principles of equality, free speech and upon concepts like "innocent until proven guilty" could find itself in a position where we imprison upon suspicion, and shun the rights of those who speak in a way that we dislike or find offensive.

    Again, I do not want to imply that I am drawing or connecting a line between the criminal acts of the last administration (in keeping suspected terrorists in prison without access to the procedural due process this country was founded upon and was beloved for providing to EVERYONE, not just its citizens) and the movement to censor certain speech. It is, however, easy to take a second element of freedom away, having already taken the first.

    Let's not also forget, that freedom of speech is not freedom from the consequences of that speech … and in fact, implicit and explicit is the very real fact that certain speech brings with it certain consequences. If facebook's permitting such speech offends you, stop using the site. Go onto another. Exercise your choice. But please, don't imply that your attempt to censor speech should be applauded because you are taking the moral high-ground. If freedom of speech is right, if it is important, than, as Voltaire wrote, why are we not simply disagreeing with what is said, but acknowledging that we should fight to the death for the right to say it.

    Let me be clear on one thing: The Holocaust Denial groups are filled with hateful or ignorant people who attempt to rewrite history for their own nefarious purposes. They do not deserve air time, and should be ignored. I wish they went away … but in good conscience, all I can do is hope that "right-minded" folks
    feel the same way and give those groups the "Heisman". We can't call ourselves American and in the same breath deny those groups the right or a forum to speak.

    It isn't often that a movie produces a gem of a quote, but there is one in The Contender which is just perfect: "Principles only mean something if you stick by them when they're inconvenient".

    I guess we have to ask ourselves, do we only care about free speech when it's convenient? If so, our country, and the principles upon which it was founded, are a sham.

  106. Roony Says:

    "…harnessing the power of the internet as a medium for the spread of civil debate…" ?!? Really?

    How can any of you make claims like this while crying for the silencing of other people's opinions? Those opinions are clearly retarded and malformed, but so are the teachings of most religions. Should we serve all religious groups a giant STFU notice too?

    Everybody is really quick to scream "silence them, it's hate/evil/bad" when it's the other guy. Let them have their little groups, right out in the open, and stop giving them all of this attention for being hateful. You're only fueling their conspiracy theorist fires by trying to silence them.

  107. bdholtzman Says:

    Thinking religion and people who practice it are stupid, silly, absurd, ignorant, unsophisticated, whatever, is not at all the same as blaming all the bad things in the world on them, wanting them dead, and promoting action against them, and saying the largest genocide in the history of the world didn't happen. Last time I looked, being an atheist was a belief system that just didn't accept a diety of any kind – and they might be right. Denying something that happened, for which there is evidence – and I'm talking piles of bones and gold teeth extracted and lampshades made of human skin (we have DNA testing now, we know that's what it is), not the beauty of a sunrise or such things that some religious people sometimes say "proves" the existence of a diety.

  108. bdholtzman Says:

    I wonder if there are any gay-bashing, moslem -bashing, black-bashing etc etc groups on facebook, and what are they allowed to say – and what would anyone writing here to defend this "freedom of speech" say about them? It's usually ok to be anti-jewish, even if you ARE jewish (zuckerberg?), but be anti-black, that's hate speech. and most of those groups don't want all blacks (or moslems or christians or whatever) dead, they just want them out of their yards and streets and preferably back to africa (or wherever). Bu that's not unique to facebook.

  109. Rita Says:

    Facebook is about communicating with friends and staying in touch…Positive things stop drunk driving, never shake a baby… how does deny the death of millions of tortured individuals fit into that?

    Really are we americans Mark Zuckerberg perhaps you are counting dollars and have lost focus of the truth…….

  110. James Russell Says:

    How did you ever graduate from law school if you can't tell the difference between an expression of hatred and historical inquiry? Is a person ipso facto more favorably disposed toward Jews if he asserts that seven million Jews perished than if he asserts that no more than five million Jews perished during WWII? Surely as an intelligent Jewish attorney you know that this is not the case. What really irks the powerful international Jewish establishment with its myriad organizations like the World Jewish Congress and the World Zionist Organization is that the Internet in general, and Facebook in particular, constitute a serious breach in the near-total domination of the news and entertainment media by Jews and Judaeophiles. No longer do 1.7% of the US population or .25% of the world population have exclusive access to minds of 6.7 billion non-Jews. This must be a frightening thought to ponder if one is a member of a group which has played a pivotal role in the current global economic collapse and has kept the rest of the world engaged in international conflict for decades because of its illegitimate occupation of Palestine. It is not widely known that the Wiesenthal Center, which is a leading advocate for the international censorship of debate on the extermination accusation, was co-founded and funded by Roland Arnall, the former Chairman of Ameriquest who was the single individual most responsible for the sub-prime mortgage debacle. All the money in the world will not keep the truth from spreading and that is why multi-millionaire Jewish families like the Cubans are desperately trying to silence any objective discussion of the extermination accusation on the Internet or elsewhere.

  111. lognhornpapa Says:

    those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

  112. lognhornpapa (6 comments.) Says:

    you are a pathetic, delusional person that is in serious need of medical and mental health experts. or you are just plain stupid.

    Growing up, my neighbor, Buddy, told stories of his time in WWII. He was originally assigned to the 6th Armoured Division of the Third Army. While serving, he frequently went between the 89th Infantry Div. and the 83rd Infantry division. The 89th liberated Ohrdruf – part of Buchenwald. The 83rd liberated the rest of Buchenwald with the help of the 6th armoured division, among others. Buddy told us he was the third American soldier to cross the gates into Buchenwald proper.

    Buddy would only talk about it after drinking heavily. And then in only bits and pieces. and never for longer than 5 minutes. It wasn't until I was out of college that I saw the photos that he took. Yeah, I know – they could have been doctored, folks like you would say. And to that I can only say, if you'd seen the negatives, which I did, you'd understand the horror that this man lived with for another 60 years. You'd understand the horror of the Holocaust. Because Buchenwald, being on German soil, was but a minor concentration camp. It is estimated that 56,000 people were murdered there. It is believed that somewhere between 1.5 and 3 million people – 90% Jews – were murdered in Auschwitz

  113. lognhornpapa (6 comments.) Says:

    Raj,

    The difference is that no one is denying the occurrences of any of those events. Except the Holocaust. NO ONE. NO WHERE. PERIOD.

    Could someone (that is rational, I hope) please explain to my feeble mind what is it about the Jews that causes so much and such virulent hatred?

  114. lognhornpapa (6 comments.) Says:

    couldn't say it any better. Thanks, Al…

  115. lognhornpapa (6 comments.) Says:

    excuse me, ahem…

    your reference to the holocaust as a microscopic part of WW2 is patently absurd. Why then, in late 1944 and 45, did the Nazi regime transfer troops and much money and energy to the attempted destruction of Europe's Jewish population, all the while taking away from the "German war effort"? In their eyes, Hitler and Co. were more focused on the elimination of Jews in Europe and western asia (and the elimination of anyone that supported or gave aid to them) than on winning the war against the Allies.

    Why then did they in April of 1945 try to cover up all that they had done by attempting to destroy at best or hide at the least the concentration and death camps throughout Poland, Czechoslovakia, Serbia, Croatia and Hungary, in addition to the Fatherland?

    And if, in fact, you lost that many family members in the Holocaust, you are essentially spitting on their graves with your naive and dangerous beliefs.

    remember: those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

  116. lognhornpapa (6 comments.) Says:

    You, sir, are pathetic and in dire need of medical and psychiatric assistance. Please report to your closest medical facility. They're more than happy to oblige. Just make certain that the attending physician has only Aryan Blut in his veins. You know that type. Tall, strapping blonde male with those vibrant blue eyes… Oh, yeah. You must check his shorts. You know. Check to see if he's circumcised. Wouldn't want a mud-blood Jew working on you. Might get infected with something, as a result.

    Wait. Must check the ownership of the facility. Might be owned by a Jew. Hmmm.. Have to go down the street. Wait. Gotta check that one too. You know the Jews own and run all the medical centers, too, didn't you?

    I have it. Send it to the news. NO DON'T DO THAT. As you say, they control the press, too.

    Sir. What the facebook groups are doing is not objective discussion. If that's your idea of "objective" discussion, I believe you ought to sue the educational facility you attended for breach of contract.

    Gimme a freaking break.

  117. Ahem Says:

    Howdy
    I was referring to America's part in WW2, not the Holocaust. The Holocaust was a major part of WW2, of course.

  118. GARY (1 comments.) Says:

    The discrimination is by design. It is the way the physical and astral worlds work. Inequality is essential to the "orderly" running of the world. The ruling elite want to keep class distinction alive in order to keep themselves on top and to assure that they will have others under their control. People are basically born to a class, where they will remain for their entire lives. Occasionally, people move up or down the social ladder. Again, these are the exception, not the rule.

  119. Vicki (1 comments.) Says:

    I agree. Hate speech is not an open debate. When people offer no facts, they are simply lying. We don't want to say it's OK to lie about a whole class of people or events. This has NO place in social networking. People who hate people cause of their nationality or something else they can't change are not usually very social people anyways.

  120. Jack (5 comments.) Says:

    Or would we rather it was discussed in the open on Facebook where people’s real names and their photo is associated with it for their friends, peers, and colleagues to see?”

    I can't buy into this argument for a variety of reasons. There is an assumption here that these people are using their real names and that somehow exposure will lead to their being shamed into changing their minds or being treated as pariahs.

    That is a slippery slope to tread upon. Not all ideas are moral, some ideologies are morally superior to others.

    There is no reason to give a platform and venue to hate mongers. They make it far too easy for these people to find each other.

  121. jackie sheeler (2 comments.) Says:

    i dunno. seems like one short step from denying these holocaust-denial groups to then denying whole swathes of groups. for example, much of the conservative right views pro-choice discussion as a hate crime against the unborn. likewise, pro-choicers may view far-right anti-choice discussions as hate speech against women (as much of it in fact happens to be). it's a slippery slope to start making value judgments on a case-by-case basis and shutting down groups. can the carnivores then shut down the vegan groups, and vice versa? what about all these mafia quiz games on FB? aren't they promoting negative italian stereotypes, and thereby deserve to be axed?

    i agree completely with you that these holocaust denial groups are often thinly veiled (if veiled at all) anti-semitic groups. but there are a lot of anti-various-things groups on facebook, and i for one don't want some kind of corporate oversight as to what should and should not be allowed to exist.

    fight fire with fire, i think. start your own group, the anti-holocaust-denial group, and shine a light on the idiocy that is preached in those rooms. infiltrate the group with an undercover profile, and tell the world what is being said there. if enough people listen, they will eventually have to shut themselves down, rather than having anybody do it for them. it takes more work that way than trying to turn facebook into some kind of authoritarian father-figure, but it's also a lot less dangerous.

  122. Julie Colangelo Says:

    There is no excuse for hate. To hide it behind free speech is preposterous. Think how many people would not be starving or murdered if there wasn't hate.

  123. NoahDavidSimon (2 comments.) Says:

    your politics are a Cubewich. http://j-walkblog.com/index.php?%2Fweblog%2Fposts… while it is true that there is nothing transparent and open about facebook, why are you playing their puzzle? it isn't kosher Brian. the real fight is in the courts. drop the pretensions of working in their system. the Tech community is not your friend.

  124. Igor The Troll (3 comments.) Says:

    Noah, if you isolate people and build walls, what is next? WAR

  125. Corey_Mondello Says:

    I am 100% for free speech, as long as it does not endorse killing people or animals anymore than Ann Coulter or a meat farmer.

    Why?

    Because I am a gay, atheist, vegetarian, and DO NOT want ANYONE telling me I cannot post/say whatever I want, as long as I do not endorse violence any more than Ann Coulter.

  126. J.S. Says:

    People seem to misunderstand the concept of free speech on in a private forum like facebook… You don’t have free speech, that only applies in a public forum. Which facebook is not, doesn’t anyone read the fine print anymore?

    Holocaust deniers? I had great aunts & uncles with numbers on there arms.
    Also lived next to an old german couple many years ago…I heard a few disturbing things over tea, I wish I hadn’t actually…humans can be such disgusting animals…

  127. J.S. Says:

    Lognhornpapa says:

    Could someone (that is rational, I hope) please explain to my feeble mind what is it about the Jews that causes so much and such virulent hatred?
    =================================

    Gladly, its actually pretty simple to understand. The Jewish people historically & to this day. Value Education & organized social structure this leads to prosperity thru joined efforts both privately & community based. Trade & commerce follows. People will always hate those that have it better than them, and in europe(400ad-1800ad) the jews seem to always prosper with there education, embrace of science, laws, & cleanliness(food prep & bathing).
    As much as people like to believe that it has something to do with the death of “Jesus Christ”, which many now also believe is just a fabrication of the “jewish conspiracy”….

    At this point there are about 15 million jews left worldwide, I’m afraid the next holocaust will most likely be in the USA. Its scary, but the neo-con controlled media(TV & talk radio) will most likely start attacking Jews at some point soon…. I hope I’m wrong about that….

  128. Akeela Says:

    How
    can Anybody
    discuss or Debate
    statements that have no
    logic or evidence? How indeed
    “““““““
    The fewer the facts — the more hateful the rants
    A
    K
    E E L A

  129. JimmyJ (1 comments.) Says:

    Hello All and just to be fair… definition” Antiesmitism stands for any group or religion who degrades the other and DOES NOT STAND ONLY FOR THE JEWISH COMMUNITY.”

    I WAS HOPING SUCH uninamity in discussion goes both ways… and is same when it comes to JEWISH ZIONIST SITES instigating hatred against other religions and being antisematic as well and denying the right of palestenians in there OWN land or even degrading the mass crimes against humanity commited by the zionist regime in occupied land of palestine since 1948?????????????????????? Isnt that also a DENIAL and for sure thats being antisemist more then anything!!

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