The boss and founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg was Thursday, July 19, at the centre of controversy after it announced that the social network did not censor the messages denying the existence of the Holocaust. In an interview granted the day before at the specialized site Recode, it is indicated that Facebook was going to remove some of the “false news” (fake news) that may lead to violent acts, while stressing that he didn’t want to censor comments that would have been required, according to him, “sincerely”. “I am a jew and there are people who deny the existence of the Holocaust. I find this very shocking. But in the end, I do not believe that our platform must remove that kind of language because I think that there are things on which some people are mistaken”.
Facebook facing criticism
In the Face of the wave of criticism, Mark Zuckerberg was then sent an email to Recode to clarify his statements. “Of course, if a message crossed the red line advocating violence or hatred against a particular group, it would be removed”, he wrote. For the past several weeks, Facebook is sharply criticized for permitting the spread of the articles, images or videos, do not contain direct call to hatred, can be seen as an encouragement to violent actions.
The social network had been accused of permitting the spread of rumors to the origin of clashes, particularly in Burma and Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, the authorities had in April blocked access to the site, believing that it encouraged the sectarian violence. Shortly before the controversy, Facebook had announced to withdraw the false information posted on the network and are likely to create violence in imminent. “We are starting to implement this new policy in countries where we see examples where the misinformation has (…) led to violence”, had pointed to Tessa Lyons in Facebook, citing the case of Sri Lanka.
For example, the social network will be able to remove content which is inaccurate or misleading, such as faked photographs, created or shared to contribute to the physical violence or exacerbate it. Facebook will rely on local organizations or specialized agencies to determine if these publications are likely to result in violence in the immediate future and therefore must be removed.