Zuckerberg doubles down on refusal to remove Holocaust denial from Facebook

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 10, 2018. (AP/Jose Luis Magana)

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.

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“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.”

In an interview with Recode published earlier Wednesday, Zuckerberg said that Facebook does not remove content from far-right conspiracy theory sites because it is committed to “giving people a voice.”

In the interview, Zuckerberg explained what content Facebook would remove from the site and noted that in countries like Myanmar and Sri Lanka, the dissemination of hate speech can have immediate and dire consequences because it could lead to violence against religious minorities.

Moments earlier, he also defended his company’s decision to allow content from the conspiracy site Infowars to be distributed on Facebook.

“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.

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

Swisher challenged Zuckerberg.

“‘Sandy Hook didn’t happen’ is not a debate,” she said, referring to the Connecticut school massacre in 2012, which Infowars has spread conspiracy theories about. “It is false. You can’t just take that down?

Zuckerberg countered that the context of the remark mattered.

“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 brought up the Holocaust.

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

‘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.

Instead, Facebook would allow the content to exist on its site, but would move it down in the News Feed so that fewer users see it, he said.

The remarks sparked backlash from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and others.

“Holocaust denial is a willful, deliberate and longstanding deception tactic by anti-Semites that is incontrovertibly hateful, hurtful, and threatening to Jews,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Facebook has a moral and ethical obligation not to allow its dissemination. ADL will continue to challenge Facebook on this position and call on them to regard Holocaust denial as a violation of their community guidelines,” he concluded.

 

Source: World Israel News

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