Mark Zuckerberg defended the rights of Facebook users to publish Holocaust denial posts, saying he didn’t “think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong”.
In an interview with Recode published on Wednesday, the CEO also explained Facebook’s decision to allow the far-right conspiracy theory website Infowars to continue using the platform, saying the social network would try to “reduce the distribution of that content”, but would not censor the page.
Touching that he can think Holocaust deniers aren’t getting it intentionally wrong.
Platforms like Facebook and YouTube have faced intense scrutiny for allowing the far-right commentator Alex Jones to continue to host his Infowars site, which most infamously has spread the false claim that the Sandy Hook mass shooting that killed 20 schoolchildren was a hoax.
That content, Zuckerberg said, would be removed if it was abusive towards an individual: “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.”
I don’t pretend to understand the difference between telling a Holocaust victim “you’re a liar” and saying the same thing to a Sandy Hook victim.
In the interview, the CEO noted that the Guardian “initially” alerted Facebook to the work of Aleksandr Kogan, the academic researcher who harvested the data, saying: “And when we learned about that, we immediately shut down the app, took away his profile, and demanded certification that the data was deleted.”
Facebook, however, did not suspend Kogan and the associated company until March of 2018, despite the Guardian’s reporting several years prior. A spokesperson later said that Zuckerberg had misspoken when he claimed the company “immediately … took away his profile”, admitting that this removal had not happened until this year.
Slippery as ever.
Later: How One of the Internet’s Biggest History Forums Deals With Holocaust Deniers. I’m puzzled why Facebook ignore how the most experienced moderators handle Holocaust denial.
Also: A Sandy Hook family to Mark Zuckerberg: why let Facebook lies hurt us even more? suggests that Facebook merely pretends to treat Sandy Hook survivors better; in practise it ignores them.