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Mark Zuckerberg Clarifies Comments About Holocaust Deniers Amid Backlash

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg is clearing up the controversial remarks he made about Holocaust deniers during a conversation about how Facebook handles offensive content.

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“I’m Jewish, and there’s a set of people who deny that the Holocaust happened. 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,” Zuckerberg said during his Wednesday, July 18, appearance on the “Recode Decode” podcast. “It’s hard to impugn intent and to understand the intent. I just think, as abhorrent as some of those examples are, I think the reality is also that I get things wrong when I speak publicly.”

The entrepreneur quickly made headlines for his comments, and he subsequently sent an email to the podcast host Kara Swisher attempting to clarify his remarks.

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“I enjoyed our conversation yesterday, but there’s one thing I want to clear up. I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny that,” the email reads. “Our goal with fake news is not to prevent anyone from saying something untrue — but to stop fake news and misinformation spreading across our services. If something is spreading and is rated false by fact checkers, it would lose the vast majority of its distribution in News Feed. And of course if a post crossed line into advocating for violence or hate against a particular group, it would be removed. These issues are very challenging but I believe that often the best way to fight offensive bad speech is with good speech. I look forward to catching up again soon. Mark.”

Zuckerberg’s apology comes amid backlash on social media.

“So Mark Zuckerberg won’t ban Holocaust denying white supremacists from facebook, because he wants to give them a voice?” one user tweeted. “Black people have been telling the world for YEARS that facebook has become a safe haven for online white supremacists (while Black ppl are constantly banned).”

Another person tweeted, “Mark Zuckerberg is unwilling to ban far-right fake news sites like InfoWars because he’s afraid of losing far-right users, and he should just admit it.”

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“Handing fringe groups a magnifying glass and megaphone for their hate filled ideas so they look more mainstream than they are is NOT about free speech in the least,” a third user wrote on Twitter. “There is no constitutional right to a platform. You choose irresponsibility Mark Zuckerberg.”

CEO of the Anti-Defamation League Jonathan Greenblat also slammed Zuckerberg’s remarks, telling CNNMoney in a statement: “Holocaust denial is a willful, deliberate and longstanding deception tactic by anti-Semites that is incontrovertibly hateful, hurtful, and threatening to Jews. Facebook has a moral and ethical obligation not to allow its dissemination.”

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