(MENLO PARK, Calif.) — Mark Zuckerberg says when it comes to fake news — even from extremists like Holocaust deniers — Facebook will not ban people from expressing their opinion, but will seek to stop it from spreading across their services.
Zuckerberg was responding to an interview published Tuesday by the online technology news website Recode, in which the Facebook CEO discussed so-called fake news and said that while he found the holocaust “deeply offensive,” deniers will not be banned from Facebook.
But after a significant social media backlash, Zuckerberg sent a follow up email to Recode on Wednesday, saying he “didn’t intend” to defend people who deny the Holocaust when he said Facebook would not take down false content.
“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,” Zuckerberg wrote. “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.”
In the initial 90-minute podcast interview Tuesday, Zuckerberg spoke with Recode’s Kara Swisher on several topics, including privacy, news and how he believes that controversial and false content published on Facebook has attracted criticism.
Zuckerberg said that while “It’s hard to impugn intent and to understand the intent,” Facebook won’t necessarily distribute the false content widely.
“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. “What we will do is we’ll say, ‘Okay, you have your page, and if you’re not trying to organize harm against someone, or attacking someone, then you can put up that content on your page, even if people might disagree with it or find it offensive.’ But that doesn’t mean that we have a responsibility to make it widely distributed in News Feed.”
When reached for comment, Facebook referred ABC News back to the Zuckerberg’s interview and subsequent statement.
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