Facebook algorithm recommending Holocaust denial and fascist content, report finds

Posts and pages spreading Holocaust denial and fascism are being “actively recommended” to Facebook users, research has found.

The social media giant defended its policy on what it called “lies or content that is inaccurate”, but the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) think tank said such content must be recognised as a form of antisemitic hate speech.

Researchers used a popular keyword used by Holocaust deniers to uncover 28 Facebook groups and eight pages that had almost 370,000 followers in total.

“From clicking through to these pages, Facebook’s recommendation algorithm led ISD researchers to further Holocaust denial pages,” the report said.

“Facebook also appears to promote content on the extreme right to those demonstrating an interest in Holocaust denial content.

“The platform recommended to researchers to visit Australian pages supportive of Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British Union of Fascists, and the works of a fascist Italian philosopher.”

Recommendations also included pages dedicated to the notorious British Holocaust denier David Irving and publishers selling revisionist literature.

One of the most popular pages claimed it was expressing “intellectual freedom”, while others claimed they were conducting a “scientific investigation of historical events”.

The ISD said 13 of the pages or groups were dedicated to conspiracy theories, nine were ideologically far-right, seven anti-Zionist, five pro-Palestine, one Christian right and one Islamist.

Facebook said it only removed Holocaust denial content in countries, such as Germany, which have made it illegal and did not take down content for being “inaccurate”.


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