Facebook kills anti-Muslim group

Facebook has disabled an anti-Islamic group called "I Hate Muslims in Oz" after the issue was brought to their attention by CNet's Chris Matyszczyk.

Facebook's stance toward Holocaust-denying groups is more ambivalent. The company's terms of service prohibit content that is "hateful" or "threatening", and, according to Matyszczyk, Facebook does not consider simply denying that the Holocaust happened to be "hateful" or "threatening".

Facebook's Barry Schnitt clarifies the situation: "We disabled the 'I Hate Muslims in Oz' group a day or so ago because it contained an explicit statement of hate. Where Holocaust-denial groups have done this and been reported, we've taken the same action."

Although many consider Holocaust-denying to be "hateful" and "threatening" in and of itself, Facebook has no plans at the moment to ban groups that do it, unless they explicitly advocate hate. Matyszczyk notes, however, that Facebook's tolerance of Holohoax, one such Holocaust-denying group, reveals the company's disturbing double standard. Holohoax is quite clearly an anti-Semitic group, with wall posts such as "Jews are pretty good liars most of the time, but they tell so many lies they are bound to trip themselves up sometimes. Their exaggerations, half-truths, and outright inventions about the so-called 'Holocaust,' easily the most lied-about topic ever, are a good example."

As more and more employers are including analysis of prospective employees' online activities when making hiring decisions, it is likely that joining groups such as "I Hate Muslims in Oz" or those that deny the Holocaust will be taken into consideration. Schnitt notes, "There are a whole host of ignorant ideas that Facebook, as a communication platform, allows, even though they might hurt a [job] candidate's chances of getting a job here or at any number of other companies."

Although Schnitt is careful to portray Facebook as a neutral forum for the exchange of ideas, Matyszczyk is quick to point out that "[n]eutrality is a very, very difficult act to pull off. Currently, it balances on Facebook's own running definition of what is hateful and what isn't. It is a definition that clearly doesn't satisfy everyone."

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