Mark Zuckerberg at centre of Holocaust denial controversy

Facebook chief backtracks after his comments caused a stir

Updated - July 19, 2018 10:36 pm IST

Published - July 19, 2018 10:35 pm IST - Menlo Park

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has found himself at the centre of a fresh row after saying the social network should not prohibit posts which deny the Holocaust.

In a podcast interview with tech website Recode on Wednesday, Zuckerberg said that while Facebook was dedicated to stopping the spread of fake news, certain beliefs that were sincerely held would not be taken down.

After the remarks caused a backlash on social media, he was forced to backtrack, saying if any post advocated violence or hate against a group, it would be removed.

The controversy began when Mr. Zuckerberg provided an unprompted example of Holocaust deniers to Recode host Kara Swisher to make a point about allowing hoaxes to be published on the site.

False posts

He said that messages accusing victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting of being liars would be taken down for harassment, but added that not all factually incorrect posts would receive the same treatment.

“I’m Jewish, and there’s a set of people who deny that the Holocaust happened,” he said. “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.”

The comments caused a stir on social media, with many viewing the statement as problematic.

Mr. Zuckerberg later emailed Recode to clarify, stating that if something is spreading and rated as false by the site’s fact checkers, “it would lose the vast majority of its distribution in News Feed. And of course if a post crossed (the) line into advocating for violence or hate against a particular group, it would be removed.”

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