(JTA) — The chairman of the U.S. Commission to Preserve America’s Heritage Abroad said Mark Zuckerberg’s stance on not removing Holocaust-denial posts from Facebook is “dangerous.”
Paul Packer, who was appointed to the independent government agency by President Donald Trump, sent a letter to Zuckerberg a day after the Facebook founder and CEO told Recode, a tech news website, that he would not automatically delete Holocaust-denying posts.
In the interview earlier this month, Zuckerberg said that while Facebook would not remove a post denying the Holocaust, the social network would push it down the News Feed to make sure the post did not go viral.
“(A)t 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,” he said.
Packer’s letter in response, dated July 19, was first obtained and published by Axios.
“By attempting to rationalize Holocaust denial and by enabling anti-Semites to publish their abhorrent views freely on your platform, you have failed your users and the world at large,” he said. “Furthermore, you have failed to uphold Facebook’s own mission to ‘give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.’
“Your comments were not only divisive — they were dangerous. Through your words and Facebook’s policies, you have empowered those who would deny the undeniable.”
Packer called on Zuckerberg to “meet your ethical obligation not to allow the further destruction and endangerment of our history by changing Facebook’s policy immediately so that historical denial of the kind you defended is no longer allowed.”
He invited Zuckerberg to join him on one of the commission’s “many trips to countries impacted by Nazi brutality.”
Packer, a former New York hedge fund manager, told Axios that he met with senior Facebook executive Joel Kaplan this week in Washington, D.C., to raise his concerns in the wake of the letter. Multiple Facebook executives joined the meeting via video conference, Axios reported.
Kaplan told Axios that Facebook agrees that Holocaust denial is “abhorrent and offensive.”
“That said,” he added, “we do not remove content simply for being factually inaccurate, whether it’s about the Holocaust, any other world event or anything else.”