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Zuckerberg at center of Holocaust denial controversy

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Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has found himself at the center 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.

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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 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.

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.

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“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.”

After Swisher interjected that Holocaust deniers may indeed be motivated by malign intent, Zuckerberg continued:

“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. I’m sure you do. I’m sure a lot of leaders and public figures we respect do too.”

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The comments caused a stir, with many seeing Zuckerberg’s foray into the contentious debate as problematic.

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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The episode was an unwelcome distraction for Facebook after it held a briefing on the company’s new policy to remove bogus posts likely to spark violence.

The new tactic being rolled out across the global social network was tested in Sri Lanka, which was recently rocked by inter-religious violence over false information posted on the platform.

A spokesman announced Facebook may remove inaccurate or misleading content, such as doctored photos, created or shared to stir up or ignite volatile situations in the real world.

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Hate speech and threats deemed credible are violations of Facebook rules, and are removed.

The new policy advances another step, by eliminating content that may not be explicitly violent but which seems likely to encourage such behavior.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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George Washington Bridge shut down for all traffic as Bomb Squad investigates suspicious device

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Traffic in New York City slowed to gridlock on Friday after authorities shut down the world's busiest vehicular bridge.

"All traffic on the George Washington Bridge has been closed off due to reports of a suspicious device on the span linking New York and New Jersey," CBS New York reported Thursday.

"According to police sources, the Port Authority Police Department has called in the Bergen County Bomb Squad to help with their investigation," CBS added. "Sources tell CBS2 the NYPD has not been called in yet to assist with the possible threat."

https://twitter.com/PANYNJ_GWB/status/1164724186880675841

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Maddow walks through existence of a ‘whistleblower’ alleging the IRS is mishandling Trump’s taxes

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MSNBC's Rachel Maddow reported Thursday on the "confetti canon" of new filings in the legal battle between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the House Ways and Means Committee over access to President Donald Trump's tax returns.

Maddow reported on Exhibit QQ in the latest filings, which is a letter from Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

"On July 29, 2019, the Committee received an unsolicited communication from a Federal employee setting forth credible allegations of 'evidence of possible misconduct' -- specifically, potential 'inappropriate efforts to influence' the mandatory audit program," Exhibit QQ read.

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Texas governor busted sending racist call-to-arms a day before El Paso attack: ‘take matters into our own hands’

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On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) tweeted out a message of unity and promised to work to reduce violence in his state, in the wake of the shooting in El Paso that left 22 dead and dozens more injured:

Today we had hearings responding to the tragic shooting in El Paso.

We focused on community healing, combating domestic terrorism, reducing hateful ideologies, & keeping guns out of hands of deranged killers while respecting 2nd Amendment rights.

We’ll keep TX safe.#txlege pic.twitter.com/ymct4aiSgK

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