‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ is promoted on dozens of large Facebook groups and pages.
Arabic-language pages promoting a notorious antisemitic text fabricated in the early 20th Century have become rife on Facebook, a new report from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) disclosed on Wednesday.
The ADL said it had discovered “dozens of large Facebook pages or groups” promoting “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” — a fabrication first published by the Okhrana, the Russian Tsarist secret police, in 1903 that lays out the plot for alleged Jewish domination of the world.
“All of these 39 pages or groups had over 100 likes or followers, and 19 of them had over 1,000,” noted the report, written by the ADL’s Washington, DC international affairs director David Weinberg. “In total, these groups and pages had been followed over 70,000 times and 34,000 likes.”
Weinberg observed that “the fact that so many Arabic-language Facebook groups and Facebook pages had been created to promote the most iconic work of Tier 1 Hate Speech against Jews in modern history suggests strongly that the platform is failing to uphold even its most basic responsibilities and stated policies when it comes to horrific hate speech against Jews across the range of languages serviced by Facebook.”
One Arabic-language page dedicated to the “Protocols” had been in operation since 2013, the report stated. “It’s ‘About’ section states in Arabic that ‘the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ is among the most famous books which expose the Masonic practices in world domination,’ and that ‘Jews are nothing but the masters of the world and its corrupters.’ A similar page carried one post alleging that the COVID-19 pandemic is a Jewish plot to cull the world’s population, while another post promoted text from the first chapter of the ‘Protocols’ with an illustration of Jews as a bloodthirsty half-pig beast standing on a human skull.”
The ADL’s revelations come as Facebook has attempted to beat back accusations that the social media giant has failed to prevent the spread of fake news and outlandish conspiracy theories on its platform in languages other than Arabic.
“It is difficult to know what is more disturbing — the horrific hatred promoted by Facebook groups and pages such as these — or that Facebook claims it proactively takes down hate speech when groups and pages such as these have peddled blatant hate speech in their very names for so many years without consequence,” wrote Weinberg.
“When such clear violations of its own policies are left to thrive for months or years on its platform, it begs the question — are they intentionally leaving these groups up, or are they just incompetent in their execution?” he added.