Holocaust Educational Trust Blog

A space for featured guest bloggers and members of the Holocaust Educational Trust team to comment and reflect on timely issues.

Social media platforms must combat hatred, by Karen Pollock MBE

This article by Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, first appeared in The Jewish Chronicle on Friday 2nd March. 


Social Media platforms must combat hatred


Social media allows us to educate at the touch of a button. But it is also a place where Holocaust denial, distortion and antisemitism is allowed to thrive.

Imagine the horror of the daughter of a Holocaust survivor scrolling through her Facebook feed to find it littered with antisemitic messages and outright Holocaust denial by someone she did not know but who did not hold back in expressing his hatred. Understandably, she was deeply offended by the content of the posts on his page, and responded by posting facts and photos, providing evidence of the brutality of the murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis.

Now picture her shock when the next day she returned to Facebook to find she could not access the site. Instead of the person posting antisemitic content being penalised, it was she who had been reported and suspended by Facebook, for posting “inappropriate imagery”.

The irony is not lost on any of us fighting the daily battle of online hatred.

At the Holocaust Educational Trust, we frequently receive messages such as “Can they teach me what happened to the 6 million bodies” or ‘What's the difference between the Holocaust and a cow? You can't keep milking a cow forever”.

Sometimes they go further, using social media to sickeningly call for another Holocaust or claim that “Hitler was right”. This is our reality. The fact is antisemitism and denial of the Shoah exist. There are good people who put their head above the parapet to stand up to it, but it is time for platforms to take a stand too.

Facebook, Twitter and others need to get their heads around the fact that Holocaust denial is antisemitism, pure and simple. They need to prevent their platforms from being hijacked. They need to stop the spread of this malicious discourse. It should not be left to users to call out perpetrators of hate speech and they certainly should not be punished for doing so.


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