Facebook found itself embroiled a new in controversy Thursday after chief executive Mark Zuckerberg argued the leading social network should not filter out posts denying the Holocaust.
The comments by Zuckerberg drew fierce criticism and appeared to undermine Facebook’s latest effort to root out hate speech, violence and misinformation on its platform.
Facebook on Wednesday built on its campaign to prevent the platform from being used to spread dangerous misinformation, saying it will remove bogus posts likely to spark violence.
The new tactic being spread through the global social network was tested in Sri Lanka, which was recently rocked by inter-religious over false information posted on the world’s leading online social network.
“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.
“We will be begin implementing the policy during the coming months.”
For example, Facebook may remove inaccurate or misleading context, such as doctored photos, created or shared to stir up to ignite volatile situations in the real world.
In an interview with tech website Recode on Wednesday, Zuckerberg said that while Facebook was dedicated to stopping the spread of fake news, it would not filter out posts just on the basis of being factually wrong — including from Holocaust deniers and the conspiracy theory website Infowars.
“I’m Jewish, and there’s a set of people who deny that the Holocaust happened,” he said in the interview.
“I find that deeply offensive. But at the end of the day, I don’t believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong.”
Critics quickly lashed out at Zuckerberg over the comments, saying these kinds of comments can incite hatred and violence.
“Holocaust denial is the quintessential ‘fake news,'” said Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a rights group named for a famed Nazi hunter.