Sep 3, 2020 - Technology

Kenosha militia group, not Facebook, took down its event page

Photo of a civilian in a helmet with a gun in the streets of Kenosha, Wisc.
An armed civilian stands in the streets of Kenosha during the third day of protests over a police shooting. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

After users flagged a Facebook event page for a militia counterprotest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the page, filled with comments promoting violence, vanished from the social network. Facebook told the world it had taken down both the event page and the group that sponsored it.

Yes, but: As BuzzFeed News reports, the group itself had deleted the event page before Facebook shut the group down. That contradicts what CEO Mark Zuckerberg told a company meeting soon after the controversy, as the company now concedes.

The big picture: What matters most here is that Facebook left the event page up even after hundreds of users reported it. Before the company took any action, two protesters who had been marching over the police shooting of Jacob Blake lay dead.

  • A 17-year-old armed with a rifle is charged with their murder.
  • Facebook says the accused, Kyle Rittenhouse, did not belong to the militia group or RSVP for the event.

The bottom line: By botching this announcement and taking credit for doing more than it had, Facebook has once more hurt its credibility.

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