Mark Zuckerberg Says Facebook Won't Remove Holocaust Denial Content

Mark Zuckerberg Says Facebook Won't Remove Holocaust Denial Content

Mark Zuckerberg's effort to curb the spread of conspiracy theories and blatant propaganda masquerading as legitimate news on Facebook is lacking, and everyone but Zuckerberg seems to know it. Case in point: In a new interview with Recode founder Kara Swisher, Facebook's leader defended the presence of Alex Jones's paranoid far-right conspiracy site Infowars on his social network, and when Swisher pushed back, he doubled down and made excuses for Holocaust deniers.

Facebook allows some misinformation to remain on the site - including items produced by Infowars, an outlet routinely accused of spreading baseless conspiracy theories - but the site's fact checkers and algorithms limit the amount of people such content reaches. "I don't think that they're intentionally getting it wrong", Zuckerberg told Swisher.

"It's hard to impugn intent and to understand the intent", he continued.

Facebook is also taking steps to remove misinformation that could lead to people being physically harmed, following attacks on people in India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar fueled by the false rumours spread on Facebook, messaging and other social media.

"The approach that we've taken to false news is not to say, you can't say something wrong on the Internet", he said.

"I find [Holocaust denialism] deeply offensive".

"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", a Facebook spokesman said after a briefing on the policy at the company's campus in Silicon Valley.

"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, '" Zuckerberg said.

However, he admitted that Facebook was "slower" in identifying such groups which have set up "a network of fake accounts in order to spread divisive information".

Jonathan Greenblatt, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, challenged Facebook's policy on holocaust denialism.

"Holocaust denial is a willful, deliberate and long-standing deception tactic by anti-Semites that is incontrovertibly hateful, hurtful, and threatening to Jews", he said in statement Wednesday.

Following outcry from groups including the Anti-Defamation League, Mr Zuckerberg subsequently clarified that he "absolutely didn't intend to defend the intent of people who deny [the Holocaust]". At a congressional hearing Tuesday, executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter were pressed to clarify the way they police their massive platforms and to articulate how they define false news.

The comments came during a discussion of Facebook's policy around banning content, or rather, not banning content.

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