Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Picture: AFP/Ludovic Marin
Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Picture: AFP/Ludovic Marin

Why Facebook CEO won’t ban Holocaust deniers

FACEBOOK CEO Mark Zuckerberg says while he finds Holocaust denial "deeply offensive," he doesn't believe that such content should be banned.

But, just hours after the interview, Zuckerberg attempted to roll-back his comments.

Speaking with Recode's Kara Swisher, Zuckerberg, who is Jewish, said in an interview that he thinks there are things "that different people get wrong." He added that he doesn't think they are "intentionally" getting it wrong.

"It's hard to impugn intent and to understand the intent. I just think, as abhorrent as some of those examples are, I think the reality is also that I get things wrong when I speak publicly," he said.

At this point, Swisher cut in and said that in the case of Holocaust deniers, it may be intentionally wrong.

The remarks sparked criticism, including from the Anti-Defamation League, which said in a statement that Facebook has a "moral and ethical obligation" not to allow people to disseminate Holocaust denial on its platform. Zuckerberg said offensive content isn't necessarily banned unless it is to organise harm or attack someone.

Zuckerberg, clearly stung by the critical backlash, later attempted to clarify his stance.

"I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn't intend to defend the intent of people who deny that," he wrote.

Zuckerberg's comments come shortly after Facebook confirmed it would allow the far-right website Infowars to continue promoting its conspiracy theories via the service. Infowars has called the Sandy Hook school massacre a 'hoax' and promoted the 'Pizzagate' fabrication that accused US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton of leading a Washington DC paedophile ring. This resulted in a gunman storming a pizza store with the misguided intention of saving trapped children.

Facebook says Infowars does not violate its community standards.

It has, however, said it will introduce a new system that will take down content judged to be contributing to 'imminent' violence.

"Reducing the distribution of misinformation - rather than removing it outright - strikes the right balance between free expression and a safe and authentic community," Facebook said in a statement. "There are certain forms of misinformation that have contributed to physical harm, and we are making a policy change which will enable us to take that type of content down."


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