The failure of the social media platform Facebook to remove a page that encouraged armed Americans to take to the streets of Kenosha, Wisc, was because of an “operational mistake”, admitted the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg acknowledged in a video posted this Friday on his Facebook profile that the activities of the page had clearly violated all of the rules of the social media company against violent militias. He added that “a bunch of people” had even reported the page even before the killing of two protesters, Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber.
In an announcement by the social media company just last week, Facebook pledged to implement a severe crackdown on pages and posts by militia organizations that advocated for violence or posted messages and content related to the potential for violence.
But the lack of implementation of the policy even in the first week of the pledge resulted in the spreading of violent messages on the platform that were linked directly to the events in Kenosha where there have been violent protests following the police shooting of a black man named Jacob Blake.
“What’s going on in Kenosha … is really deeply troubling,” Zuckerberg said in the video.
Zuckerberg’s remarks were first reported by BuzzFeed News even before the CEO posted the video.
Zuckerberg said that no connection to the 17-year-old accused of committing the killings was found in an investigation of the militia page conducted by Facebook, with no evidence of of any link available from the page or the event it promoted.
But he said that that the matter was not picked up by the contractors of the social media platform who received the initial reports from users about the militia page.
“On second review, doing it more sensitively, the team that’s responsible for dangerous organizations recognized this violated the policies, and we took it down,” Zuckerberg said.
By the time Facebook and its contractors noticed the page, at least 2,600 responses had been received by the armed event the page was promoting. It had also been noticed by at least one right-wing conspiracy website.
Zuckerberg said Facebook is now “proactively out there looking for content” that praises the shooting, Zuckerberg said.
“We’re going to continue to enforce our policies,” he said, “and continue evolving the policies to be able to identify more potential dangerous organizations, and improve our execution in order to keep on getting ahead of this.”
(Adapted from CNN.com)