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Screengrab via Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg responds to Charlottesville, promises to bring people closer

The Facebook CEO said he is taking down all posts that promote hate crimes or terrorist acts.


Phillip Tracy

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Posted on Aug 17, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 8:12 pm CDT

Mark Zuckerberg broke his silence Wednesday, vowing to rid Facebook of hate speech and violence following the deadly protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Facebook CEO wrote a passionate post condemning violence and promising to bring people closer together by encouraging constructive public discourse.

“There may always be some evil in the world, and maybe we can’t do anything about that,” Zuckerberg wrote. “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.”

Zuck said Facebook takes down every post that “promotes or celebrates hate crimes or acts of terrorism—including what happened in Charlottesville.” Over the past few days, Facebook has frantically removed posts that violate its policies, including the events page to Unite the Right and all links to an offensive Daily Stormer article about Heather Hayer, the woman killed in the Charlottesville attack. Facebook told CNET it planned to ban several other groups, including¬†Physical Removal, Genuine Donald Trump, White Nationalists United, Right Wing Death Squad, and Vanguard America, among others. On Wednesday, it banned white supermacist leader and rally organizer Christopher Cantwell.

The business magnate joins a chorus of Silicon Valley elites who joined the discussion sparked by the Unite the Right rally and ignited by Donald Trump’s controversial statements defending white nationalists and condemning “both sides,” including the made up “alt-left.” Unlike Tim Cook and a host of other CEOs, Zuckerberg did not call out Donald Trump, but did appear to hint at his comments, “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.”

Facebook has been criticized for being slow to remove hate speech and violent content from its site, but its CEO assures the social giant is watching closely and will be ready if something similar to Charlottesville were to occur.

“With the potential for more rallies, we’re watching the situation closely and will take down threats of physical harm,” Zuckerberg said. “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.”


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*First Published: Aug 17, 2017, 7:10 pm CDT