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Zuckerberg was describing how the social media company makes decisions about what content to remove; drawing a distinction between inflammatory hate speech that might incite violence in countries like Myanmar and Sri Lanka, and media operations like InfoWars that peddle in conspiracy theories.
“The principles that we have on what we remove from the service are: If its going to result in real harm, real physical harm, or if youre attacking individuals, then that content shouldnt be on the platform,” Zuckerberg said in an interview with Recodes Kara Swisher.
Zuckerberg brought up an example that he said hits closer to home.
“Im Jewish, and theres a set of people who deny that the Holocaust happened,” Zuckerberg said. “I find that deeply offensive. But at the end of the day, I dont believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I dont think theyre intentionally getting it wrong.”
That comment sparked a firestorm of criticism online, including from Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, who disputed the notion that those who attempt to negate the established facts of the Nazi genocide of European Jews are merely misinformed.
“Holocaust denial is a willful, deliberate and longstanding deception tactic by anti-Semites that is incontrovertibly hateful, hurtful, and threatening to Jews.” Read the full statement from our CEO @JGreenblattADL pic.twitter.com/vF5ydzplKM
— ADL (@ADL_National) July 18, 2018
Holocaust deniers are malicious, violent, and mean exactly what they say. They deny the genocide of six million Jews and others, including five of my family members.
For Mark Zuckerberg, one of the most powerful men in the world, to cut them slack is despicable.
— marisa kabas (@MarisaKabas) July 18, 2018
Zuckerberg sent Swisher an email this afternoon, attempting to clarify his earlier remarks, saying he had no intentions of “defending the intent” of people who deny the Holocaust.
“If something is spreading and is rated false by fact checkers, it would lose the vast majority of its distribution in News Feed,” Zuckerberg wrote. “And of course if a post crossed line into advocating for violence or hate against a particular group, it would be removed. These issues are very challenging but I believe that often the best way to fight offensive bad speech is with good speech.”
Notable in Zuckerberg's clarification is that there's no change to Facebook *policy* — it'll continue to treat Holocaust denial not as misinformation but as a viewpoint acceptable for the platform, though unworthy of prominence in news feeds.https://t.co/i5926IAS1C
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) July 18, 2018