Facebook screws up again on the Holocaust, this time with photo of children
The company removes a post by the Anne Frank Center for two days because it included a photo of emaciated children, only to restore it after the center went public.
Ian SherrFormer Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. At CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Over the past few months, the tech company's moves have drawn criticism from lawmakers, pundits and President Donald Trump for what they claim is censorship. "Social Media Giants are silencing millions of people," Trump tweeted at the time.
The incidents indicate Facebook's human employees, not its algorithms, continue to struggle to tell the difference between false news, propaganda, pornography and legitimate content. That's despite the company's move to hire more security and content moderators and revamp its community standards.
The center's post, which was a link to an article, got Facebook's attention because it included a photo of naked, emaciated children from a Nazi concentration camp. That image, Facebook said in a statement, violated its rules against nudity. "As our Community Standards explain, we don't allow people to post nude images of children on Facebook," it said.
When Facebook initially removed the post on Aug. 27, the center sent a request for an explanation. It didn't receive a response from Facebook until after its public tweet, when the company made an exception because the photo was "newsworthy, significant or important to the public interest."
Facebook didn't immediately respond to a followup question asking why it waited two days.
"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," the center said in a statement.
First published Aug. 29 at 6:30 p.m. PT. Correction, 8:37 p.m. PT: Corrects to indicate that Zuckerberg's interview with Recode was in July, not August.