Six Million Reasons You Should Think Twice Before Friending Auschwitz on Facebook
Auschwitz has changed its profile picture. . . . Auschwitz has challenged you to a quiz. . . .Auschwitz has thrown a snowball at you. Of course, it was only a matter of time before the power of social networking proved too alluring for Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp turned tourist destination, to resist. Proving that nothing is too sacred for Mark Zuckerberg's site, the memorial museum, which attracts more than 1 million visitors a year, has launched its own Facebook page. It could have been your gateway to other horrific destinations (You might also know: Treblinka, Kolyma Gulag, Guantánamo Bay), or worse, hate speech, but it's surprisingly tasteful. Wall posts proclaim heartfelt sentiments like "never forget" and "never again," and the discussion boards contain civilized discussions about whether the Polish government should continue to maintain the museum. In true Facebook fashion, the greatest indignities come by association. It surely doesn't do honor to the victims of the Holocaust that in a search, the page shows up beneath that of a Chilean metal band and a book titled Ass Goblins of Auschwitz. And yet you can't so much as chuckle or, uh, poke fun at it—this is Auschwitz we're talking about. And that's the point here: The memorial's staff did seem to know that bringing the Holocaust's most hallowed ground onto the playground of Facebook (there's already a YouTube channel) has its risks. "So far, it's just an experiment. We'll see how people react," a museum official told the BBC. "We won't let anyone do anything that may abuse the memory of the victims and this place." Well, at least no one else.
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