Facebook Triggers Holocaust Photo Outrage, Apologizes to Anne Frank Center


Facebook acknowledged in a statement this week that it went too far in attempting to enforce its ban on images of nude children.

Public backlash began to mount after the New York-based Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect announced a post depicting starving children during the Holocaust had been removed pursuant to the social media company’s terms of use.

In a tweet posted earlier this week, the nonprofit civil rights center revealed that it had not received a response to a complaint submitted nearly a week earlier.

“Hi @Facebook, you removed our post promoting the need for Holocaust Education for apparently violating community standards,” the organization stated. “You haven’t given us a reason, yet allow Holocaust Denial pages to still exist. Seems a little hypocritical?”

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In an interview last month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended the fact that controversial content, such as Holocaust denial pages, remained published by arguing that he cannot determine the intent of those individuals sharing it.

Did the Anne Frank Center deserve an apology from Facebook?

“I’m Jewish, and there’s a set of people who deny that the Holocaust happened,” he said. “I find that deeply offensive. But at the end of the day, I don’t believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong.”

As Fox News reported, Facebook has since reversed its decision to remove the historical photo.

“We put your post back up and sent you a message on FB,” a Facebook statement announced. “We don’t allow nude images of children on FB, but we know this is an important image of historical significance and we’ve restored it. We’re sorry and thank you for bringing it to our attention.”

The center also updated its Facebook followers with the news, though one spokeswoman said the response was too little, too late.

“We understand the difficult in assessing the context of potentially controversial content,” Alexandra Devitt said. “That said, it shouldn’t have taken us publicly calling out Facebook to restore our post. Hopefully, Facebook can revise their protocols.”

Her statement continued to echo the criticism included in the initial tweet.

“While Facebook removes the AFC’s post promoting the need to educate on the past, it continues to allow pages and posts that directly deny the reality of the deaths of more than six million people,” Devitt said.

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Facebook was involved in a similar controversy about two years ago.

In that case, the company restored a previously removed photo of a naked girl running, along with others, from the scene of a 1972 napalm attack on the South Vietnamese

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Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a wide range of newsrooms.
Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a variety of newsroom settings. After covering crime and other beats for newspapers and radio stations across the U.S., he served as managing editor at Western Journalism until 2017. He has also been a regular guest and guest host on several syndicated radio programs. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife and son.
Texas Press Association, Best News Writing - 2012
Bachelor of Arts, Journalism - Averett University
Professional Memberships
Online News Association
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment