May 9, 2009
Facebook urged to remove Holocaust-denial groups
With the advent of increasingly simple, interactive web technologies anyone can now publish their opinions on the internet. For example, websites such as Facebook allow users to form social groups where they can connect and communicate with each other. Friends and family can stay in touch. Online communities can share information and opinions. On occasion however those opinions can be offensive and social networking sites such as Facebook can be used as a launching pad for establishing and expanding those offensive views.
This week CNN reported that Facebook was under pressure to remove Holocaust denial pages from its website. The issue at hand is not new. Is the right to free speech absolute or can an opinion become offensive to the point that it demands censorship?
The Holocaust Denial movement seeks to deny or minimize the Holocaust, in which Nazis killed about six million European Jews during World War II. Texas attorney Brian Cuban has been leading an effort to have Facebook remove pages of groups with names such as “Holocaust: A Series of Lies,” and “Holocaust is a Holohoax” removed from its site.
Cuban points out that Facebook is in the private realm and therefore has a clear right to review and censor content published on its website. According to Cuban, “This isn’t a freedom-of-speech issue. Facebook is free to set the standard that they wish.” Facebook’s own Statement of Rights and Responsibilities says that users “will not post content that is hateful, threatening, pornographic, or that contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.”
Brian Cuban, the brother of the NBA Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, is of Russian Jewish descent and has written about his fight to have the Holocaust-denial pages removed on his site, The Cuban Revolution.
See the full story on cnn.com