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Zuckerberg says Holocaust denial is 'deeply offensive' after criticism over comments

The Facebook CEO said posts denying the Holocaust took place would not be removed automatically from the social media platform.

Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg
Image: Ron Sachs/DPA/PA Images

FACEBOOK CEO MARK Zuckerberg has clarified his stance pertaining to Holocaust deniers after being criticised for comments he made on the topic.

Zuckerberg, who is Jewish, said in an interview with Recode that Facebook posts denying the Holocaust took place would not be removed automatically.

Zuckerberg said he thinks there are things “that different people get wrong” and that he doesn’t think they are “intentionally” getting it wrong.

Responding to his remarks, the Anti-Defamation League said that Facebook has a “moral and ethical obligation” not to allow people to disseminate Holocaust denial on its platform.

Zuckerberg later sent an email to the Recode interviewer, Kara Swisher, attempting to expand on what he had said.

“I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny that,” Zuckerberg wrote in the email, which was published by Recode.

Facebook has struggled over the past year to explain what it will and won’t allow on its platform after a series of high-profile mistakes. For instance, human rights groups say Facebook has mounted an inadequate response to hate speech and the incitement of violence against Muslim minorities in Myanmar.

Pushed down the news feed

In April, Facebook announced new public guidelines mirroring the rules its reviewers use to decide whether posts run afoul of prohibitions against harassment, violent threats, explicit sexuality and other forbidden categories.

Facebook had previously shied away from providing this level of detail about its “community guidelines”.

In a portion of the Recode interview about hate speech and its potential effects in regions of strife, Swisher told Zuckerberg that in the case of Holocaust deniers their remarks may be intentionally wrong. Zuckerberg responded by saying that it’s “hard to impugn intent and to understand the intent”.

The goal of Facebook is not to prevent someone from saying something untrue, Zuckerberg said, but to stop fake news from spreading across the social network.

If something is deemed to be fake, he said, it might remain on the site but it would be pushed down in the news feed so fewer people would see it.

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Associated Press

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