Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook chief executive, said in an interview published Wednesday that he would not automatically remove denials that the Holocaust took place from the site, a remark that caused an uproar online.
Mr. Zuckerberg’s comments were made during an interview with the tech journalist Kara Swisher that was published on the site Recode. (Read the full transcript here.) Hours later, Mr. Zuckerberg tried to clarify his comments in an email to Recode.
In the interview, Mr. Zuckerberg had been discussing what content Facebook would remove from the site, and noted that in countries like Myanmar and Sri Lanka, the dissemination of hate speech can have immediate and dire consequences. Moments earlier, he had also defended his company’s decision to allow content from the conspiracy site Infowars to be distributed on Facebook.
[Facebook plans to remove misinformation that could lead to physical harm.]
“The principles that we have on what we remove from the service are: If it’s going to result in real harm, real physical harm, or if you’re attacking individuals, then that content shouldn’t be on the platform,” he said.
“There’s a lot of categories of that that we can get into, but then there’s broad debate.”
Ms. Swisher, who will become an Opinion contributor with The New York Times later this summer, challenged Mr. Zuckerberg.
“‘Sandy Hook didn’t happen’ is not a debate,” she said, referring to the Connecticut school massacre in 2012, which Infowars has spread conspiracy theories about. “It is false. You can’t just take that down?”
Mr. Zuckerberg countered that the context of the remark mattered.
“I also think that going to someone who is a victim of Sandy Hook and telling them, ‘Hey, no, you’re a liar’ — that is harassment, and we actually will take that down,” he said.
That’s when Mr. Zuckerberg brought up the Holocaust.
“But over all, let’s take this whole closer to home,” he continued. “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.”
Ms. Swisher interrupted him: “In the case of the Holocaust deniers, they might be, but go ahead.”
Mr. Zuckerberg’s response was somewhat muddled.
“It’s hard to impugn intent and to understand the intent,” he said, adding that he also gets things wrong when he speaks publicly, and other public figures do as well.
“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,’” he said.
Instead, Facebook would allow the content to exist on its site, but would move it down in the News Feed so that fewer users see it, he said.
In his follow-up statement, the Facebook chief executive tried to clarify his remarks.
“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,” he wrote in the email.
“If something is spreading and is rated false by fact checkers, it would lose the vast majority of its distribution,” he wrote, adding that any post “advocating for violence or hate against a particular group” would be removed.
“These issues are very challenging,” he added, “but I believe that often the best way to fight offensive bad speech is with good speech.”
But the interview had already set off a reaction from online commenters and drew widespread news coverage.
Benjy Sarlin of NBC News seemed baffled by Mr. Zuckerberg’s choice of words.
Facebook did not immediately return a request for comment.
Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement that Holocaust denial is “a willful, deliberate and longstanding deception tactic by anti-Semites.”
“Facebook has a moral and ethical obligation not to allow its dissemination,” he wrote.
This article originally appeared on The New York Times.
Legendary singer Aretha Franklin dies at age 76
Legendary singer Aretha Franklin has died.
The 76-year-old Queen of Soul was said to be “surrounded” by her closest friends and family in recent days, after battling extensive health problems in recent years.
The legendary singer was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, and delivered her most recent performance at the Elton John AIDS Foundation party in New York last November.
This is a Breaking News Story.
1954 – Sings her first solo at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit.
1956 – Along with her two sisters, performs backup on her father’s gospel recording for Gotham Records.
1960 – Leaves Detroit for New York, signs with Columbia Records and releases first album, “The Great Aretha Franklin.”
1967 – Leaves Columbia Records after an unsuccessful attempt at developing a jazz style; signs with Atlantic Records; wins Grammy Award Best R&B Recording for “Respect.”
1967-1974 – Wins a total of ten Grammy Awards.
January 20, 1977 – Performs “God Bless America” at the inauguration gala of President Jimmy Carter.
1980 – Appears in the movie “The Blues Brothers” and performs the song “Think”; leaves Atlantic Records for Arista Records.
1981 – Wins Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for “Hold On I’m Comin’.”
1985 – Wins Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for “Freeway Of Love.”
January 3, 1987 – Is the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
1987 – Wins two Grammy Awards for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for “Aretha” and Best R&B Performance by a Duo, with George Michael, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me).”
1988 – Wins Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance, Female for “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism.”
1991 – Receives the Grammy Legend Award.
January 20, 1993 – Performs “I Dreamed a Dream” at the inauguration ball of President Bill Clinton.
1994 – Receives the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. She is the youngest recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor at that time.
1997 – Performs an aria from Puccini’s La Boheme at the wedding of Vice-President Al Gore’s daughter, Karenna.
February 6, 1998 – Reprises her roll of Mrs. Murphy from “The Blues Brothers” in the sequel “The Blues Brothers 2000.”
February 25, 1998 – Substitutes for an ailing Luciano Pavarotti at the Grammy Awards performing “Nessun Dorma” by Puccini, unrehearsed.
September 1, 1999 – Publishes an autobiography “Aretha: From These Roots,” where she discusses her private and personal life for the first time.
September 22, 1999 – Is named a winner of the National Medal of Arts by the National Endowment for the Arts.
2003 – Wins Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for “Wonderful.”
March 2004 – Is hospitalized and released for allergic reaction to antibiotics.
2004 – Starts her own record label, Aretha’s Records.
2005 – Wins Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for “A House Is Not A Home.”
November 5, 2005 – Is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.
2006 – After Franklin points out that no Motown talent was appearing in the Detroit Super Bowl halftime show, the NFL asks her to sing the national anthem along with Aaron Neville prior to the game.
2007 – Wins Grammy Award for Best Gospel Performance for “Never Gonna Break My Faith,” shared with Mary J. Blige.
February 10, 2008 – Is Grammy’s 2008 MusiCares Person of the Year.
February 14, 2008 – Receives the NAACP Vanguard Award at the annual Image Awards ceremony.
January 20, 2009 – Performs “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” at the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
February 2010 – A Snickers commercial starring Franklin and Liza Minnelli airs for the first time.
July 27, 2010 – Appears on stage with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on piano, in Philadelphia, to raise money for charity. Rice is a classical pianist. They perform individually and together, classical, pop and patriotic selections.
August 1, 2010 – Falls in her home, breaking two ribs. The incident forces her to cancel concert appearances for August.
February 25, 2011 – During an interview with Wendy Williams, Franklin reveals a loss of 85 lbs. The ailment that resulted in surgery in December remains undisclosed and a topic of conversation she dismisses with the comment, “I’ve left that behind, I’m feeling wonderful.”
May 3, 2011 – Releases new album, “Aretha: A Woman Falling Out of Love.”
October 8, 2014 – Achieves a milestone in music history by becoming the first female to earn her 100th hit on Billboard’s Hot R&B song chart with “Rolling in the Deep (The Aretha Version).”
October 21, 2014 – Releases a new album, “Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics.”
March 5, 2015 – Performs live on the Motown themed episode of American Idol in Detroit.
February 7, 2017 – Franklin announces she will retire from performing in concert after the release of one more album. “I am retiring this year, she told a local television station in Detroit. “I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert.”
Car crashes into security barriers outside Houses Of Parliament
Kremlin “pleased” with Helsinki summit, US and Western intelligence assesses
Russian officials were “pleased” with the Helsinki summit between Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, US and Western intelligence agencies have found, according to two intelligence sources with knowledge of the assessments.
The assessments, based on a broad range of intelligence, indicate that the Kremlin believes the July 16 summit delivered a better outcome than it had expected, but that Moscow is perplexed that Trump is not delivering more Russia-friendly policies in its aftermath.
The intelligence sources say the Russians were particularly satisfied with the press conference the two leaders gave in Helsinki after Trump and Putin met for about two hours without staff and accompanied only by translators. In the 45-minute press conference, Trump discredited US intelligence and American policies more broadly, saying “the United States has been foolish” about ties with Russia, a country that has engaged in ongoing attacks on US democracy.
A spokesperson for the Office of Director of National Intelligence declined to comment, and the White House did not respond to request for comment.
The administration’s decision last week to impose sanctions on Russia for the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter left Russian officials puzzled that the President is not delivering more favorable policies.
Trump has repeatedly called for warmer relations with Moscow, but the Kremlin is neglecting to factor in the considerable role that Congress and others play in US policy-making, a Western intelligence official said.
Putin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov’s comments last week reflected the deflated Russian hopes for improved ties with Washington or at least less punitive US policies.
“President Putin said in Helsinki that Russia still has hopes for the creation of a constructive relationship with Washington…We are sorry that often we are not met with cooperation on this account,” Peskov said Aug. 9 in a regular press call with reporters.
Peskov’s comments contrasted sharply with the evaluation Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov offered immediately after the summit, when he said that the talks had been “better than super.”
Trump’s performance in Helsinki sparked unusually public criticism, even from within his own party.
The administration’s decision to impose the sanctions followed a July 26 letter from GOP Congressman Ed Royce, the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, urging the White House to comply with a law requiring the US to levy sanctions against countries that violate the 1991 Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act.
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