Mark Zuckerberg has been in deep water this week. Credits go to the comments he made in the middle of an interview with Kara Swisher about the kinds of content that should and shouldn’t be isolated from the platform.
Zuckerberg brought up people who deny the happenings of Holocaust as an example, saying he found them “deeply offensive,” then added, “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.”
In light of the resulting hullabaloo, it seems worth bringing up some old posts by TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington — from all the way back in 2009, when Arrington highlighted an effort by Brian Cuban to get Holocaust denial groups removed from the social network.
Those posts drew comments from a number of Facebook employees, including Adam Mosseri, who’s currently the VP of product management in charge of the Facebook News Feed, and Andrew Bosworth, who took over the company’s hardware efforts last year.
I don’t understand how one can rationalize censorship, no matter how wrong or evil the message. It’s not the place of government, news media or communication platforms to tell anyone what they can or cannot say.
Here’s Bosworth :
Yelling fire in a crowded building isn’t protected (legally or morally) because it directly infringes on the physical safety of others, something they have a right to in our moral judgement. I think it is pretty clear that these groups pose no such imminent threat. They are distasteful and ignorant to all of us, but they should not be shut down unless they pose a credible threat to the physical safety of others, such as through threats of violence.
And here’s Ezra Callahan, who was then on the PR team:
You do not combat ignorance by trying to cover up that ignorance exists. You confront it head on. Facebook will do the world no good by trying to become its thought police.
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