Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared last week that the social media site was dedicated to removing any content “that promotes or celebrates hate crimes.”
Mark Zuckerberg posted to Facebook recently condemning the recent events at Charlottesville which saw three deaths over the course of the weekend as far-left and far-right protesters clashed. The Facebook CEO stated that the company would be watching out for rallies in the future, stating, “With the potential for more rallies, we’re watching the situation closely.”
“We won’t always be perfect, but you have my commitment that we’ll keep working to make Facebook a place where everyone can feel safe,” he claimed.
Zuckerberg also stated, “there is no place for hate in our community. That’s why we’ve always taken down any post that promotes or celebrates hate crimes or acts of terrorism — including what happened in Charlottesville.” Zuckerberg did not, however, expand on what constitutes hate speech, but did note that Facebook was “watching closely” and would “take down threats of physical harm.”
Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a group that has previously been accused of branding websites and organizations as “hate groups” for political purposes, is reportedly working with Facebook to target certain groups. Beirich told WTSP that the group “had a really productive conversation with Facebook” and that “a lot of neo-Nazis have abandoned Facebook. They are much more responsive and they have told us they are going to redouble their efforts.”
Facebook, however, has not commented on whether left-wing extremist and Antifa pages that promote politically-motivated violence will be removed. The Facebook pages of groups like By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) still remain active despite one of the groups main leaders, Yvette Falarca, being arrested earlier this year for assaulting a man she referred to as a “Nazi.” Falarca teaches humanities at the Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School and has been allowed to teach there as she has yet to be convicted of a felony.
When asked for comment on whether or not Facebook would focus on left-wing calls to violence, a Facebook spokesperson said, “As Mark referenced, our policies against hate speech and organized hate groups are longstanding. Our Community Standards are explicit about the fact that we don’t tolerate either on the platform.” They continued to say that they would not allow Facebook to be used as a platform to promote violence and that the company’s definition of a “hate group” extends to any group that calls for violence or engages in violent acts. “We don’t look to the political issues or the reason for the violence; we simply don’t want to be a platform for violence,” they said.
When asked why Facebook was working with the SPLC when the group was cited as the inspiration for convicted domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins’ attack on the Christian organization Family Research Council, a spokesperson only responded, “We have regular conversations with a number of different organizations – the SPLC being just one of them.” Facebook did not respond to a question as to whether the SPLC’s Facebook page would be suspended for inciting violence.
Mark Zuckerberg’s full Facebook post can be seen below:
We aren’t born hating each other. We aren’t born with such extreme views. We may not be able to solve every problem, but we all have a responsibility to do what we can. I believe we can do something about the parts of our culture that teach a person to hate someone else.
It’s important that Facebook is a place where people with different views can share their ideas. Debate is part of a healthy society. But when someone tries to silence others or attacks them based on who they are or what they believe, that hurts us all and is unacceptable.
There is no place for hate in our community. That’s why we’ve always taken down any post that promotes or celebrates hate crimes or acts of terrorism — including what happened in Charlottesville. With the potential for more rallies, we’re watching the situation closely and will take down threats of physical harm. We won’t always be perfect, but you have my commitment that we’ll keep working to make Facebook a place where everyone can feel safe.
The last few days have been hard to process. I know a lot of us have been asking where this hate comes from. As a Jew, it’s something I’ve wondered much of my life. It’s a disgrace that we still need to say that neo-Nazis and white supremacists are wrong — as if this is somehow not obvious. My thoughts are with the victims of hate around the world, and everyone who has the courage to stand up to it every day.
There may always be some evil in the world, and maybe we can’t do anything about that. But there’s too much polarization in our culture, and we can do something about that. There’s not enough balance, nuance, and depth in our public discourse, and I believe we can do something about that. We need to bring people closer together, and I know we can make progress at that.