Mark Zuckerberg Blames Kenosha Militia Page on “Operational Mistake”
The account was reported twice, but remained up until Wednesday morning.
Mark Zuckerberg is facing intense criticism from both inside and outside Facebook after the social media site failed to flag a violent militia’s call to arms. The inciting incident was the horrific police shooting of Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times in the back in Kenosha, Wisconsin last week. Blake, who was unarmed and gunned down in front of his children, survived the shooting, but is reportedly paralyzed from the waist down.
In response, Kenosha citizens and members of the Black Lives Matter movement have held peaceful protests calling for justice and demanding an end to police brutality. But because we live in Trump’s America, these protests were met with more police violence, which was aided by right-wing militia groups and fascist agitators. One such group, calling themselves the Kenosha Guard, issued a “call to arms” on their Facebook group.
The page was reported multiple times to Facebook for inciting violence, which is a violation of the site’s community standards. Despite this the page was allowed to remain up. It was taken down Wednesday morning, after 17-year old domestic terrorist Kyle Rittenhouse gunned down three people, killing two. Facebook issued a statement saying, “At this time, we have not found evidence on Facebook that suggests the shooter followed the Kenosha Guard Page or that he was invited on the Event Page they organized. However, the Kenosha Guard Page and their Event Page violated our new policy addressing militia organizations and have been removed on that basis.”
Zuckerberg has since addressed his employees during the company’s weekly Q+A, where he referred to the page remaining up as “an operational mistake.” Zuckerberg added that “The contractors, the reviewers, who the initial complaints were funneled to, didn’t, basically didn’t pick this up.”
The Facebook CEO tried to address the struggles of the BLM movement and the issue of police brutality, saying “There’s just a sense that things really aren’t improving at the pace that they should be, and I think that’s really painful, really discouraging … ”
But Facebook employees were more concerned with Zuckerberg’s refusal to take violent militia groups and QAnon conspiracy theory pages seriously on the platform. Only last week, Facebook rolled out an expansion of their Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy to include online militia and QAnon groups inciting violence. It was yet another long overdue change for the site, which has become notorious for profiting off of hate speech and fake news.
In June, employees staged a virtual walkout after Facebook refused to take down Donald Trump’s post inciting violence. Many frustrated employees criticized Zuckerberg during the Q+A, with one employee writing “At what point do we take responsibility for enabling hate filled bile to spread across our services? … [A]nti semitism, conspiracy, and white supremacy reeks across our services.”
Another called out the company saying, “Feeling especially sad to be a FB employee today, … When will we finally start to take hate on our platform seriously?” Another summed it up by simply saying, “He [Zuckerberg] seems truly incapable of taking personal responsibility for decisions and actions at Facebook.”
(via The Verge, image: Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
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