Zuckerberg doubles down on refusal to remove Holocaust denial from Facebook

Zuckerberg reiterated his unwillingness to remove Holocaust denial from Facebook in the name of freedom of expression.

By: World Israel News Staff

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday tried to clarify what he meant when he said that his company would not remove posts or sites denying the Holocaust.

“I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny that,” Zuckerberg said in an email to Recode’s Kara Swisher on Wednesday.

“Our goal with fake news is not to prevent anyone from saying something untrue — but to stop fake news and misinformation spreading across our services. If something is spreading and is rated false by fact checkers, it would lose the vast majority of its distribution in News Feed. And of course if a post crossed line into advocating for violence or hate against a particular group, it would be removed.”

A Recode interview published Wednesday, quoted Facebook founder  Zuckerberg as saying that Facebook does not remove content from far-right conspiracy theory sites because it is committed to “giving people a voice.”

Zuckerberg detailed in the interview the sort of posts Facebook’s policy call to take off the site and said that in nations like Myanmar and Sri Lanka where there are extreme sectarian conflicts, spreading hate speech could lead to violence.

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Even sites such as Infowars, which is said to spread baseless conspiracy theories, are allowed to use Facebook to increase traffic.

“The principles that we have on what we remove from the service are: If it’s going to result in real harm, real physical harm, or if you’re attacking individuals, then that content shouldn’t be on the platform,” he said, according to Recode.

“There’s a lot of categories of that that we can get into, but then there’s broad debate.”

Swisher tried to clairfy the point Zuckerberg was making by giving a concrete example.

“‘Sandy Hook didn’t happen’ is not a debate,” she said, referencing a school shooting that took place in 2012, about which Infowars has spread lies. “It is false. You can’t just take that down?”

Zuckerberg responded that in order to determine whether or not a given comment, even when it is knowingly untruthful, should be removed it is essential to know the context.

“I also think that going to someone who is a victim of Sandy Hook and telling them, ‘Hey, no, you’re a liar’ — that is harassment, and we actually will take that down,” he said.

Zuckerberg then brought up the Holocaust, without being promted by Swisher.

“But over all, let’s take this whole closer to home,” he continued.

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‘I don’t think they’re intentionally getting it wrong’

“I’m Jewish, and there’s a set of people who deny that the Holocaust happened. 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. I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong.”

Swisher interrupted him: “In the case of the Holocaust deniers, they might be, but go ahead.”

“It’s hard to impugn intent and to understand the intent,” Zuckerberg responded, adding that he also gets things wrong when he speaks publicly, and other public figures do as well.

“I just don’t think that it is the right thing to say, ‘We’re going to take someone off the platform if they get things wrong, even multiple times,’” he said.

Zuckerberg add that while Holocaust would be allowed to appear on Facebook, it would not be given a prominent place on the News Feed so that fewer users see it, he said.