On Monday, the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect found itself on the wrong side of Facebook’s review system. The organization tried to share a new study on American Holocaust consciousness, but while the post went well on Twitter, Facebook suddenly blocked it. The center responded to requests for an explanation, but received no response.
After Facebook was silent for two days, the company publicly accused Facebook of its mistakes. “It removed our post promoting the need for Holocaust education because it clearly violates community standards,” the center wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning. “You didn’t give us a reason.”
The image attached to the post shows a group of skinny, naked children, which appears to have triggered Facebook’s nudity policy, although age and poor image quality obscured most of the scene.
A few hours after the Frank Center issued a public statement, Facebook restored the post and apologized for the error. “As our community standards explain, we do not allow people to post pictures of naked children on Facebook,” a company representative explained to The Verge. “We recognize the historical significance and importance of the image shared by the Anne Frank Center and have repaired it on this basis.”
When she was contacted for comment, Alexandra DeWitt of the Anne Frank Center found a disturbing contrast to Facebook’s lax attitude towards Holocaust denial pages. “Although Facebook removed AFC posts promoting the need for education in the past, it continues to allow pages and posts that directly deny the reality of the deaths of more than 6 million people,” DeWitt told The Verge.
“If Facebook is serious about the standards of its community, it should start to address the issue of Holocaust denial, rather than trying to educate people about discrimination, facts and historical organizations.”
The center is a small organization with few employees, and its connection to the Frank family is unclear. In recent years, he has gained fame for his willingness to fight the Trump administration and other right-wing groups. This activism includes a direct confrontation with Facebook, an event that garnered more than 180,000 signatures for the Change.org petition, which requires the company to remove pages promoting Holocaust denial.
This isn’t the first time Facebook has had trouble with historically important images involving nudity. In 2016, the platform blocked an iconic Vietnam War news photo showing a naked 9-year-old girl fleeing a napalm attack. Facebook restored the photo after a public outcry, citing its historical significance.