Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Monday that the tech giant would be expanding its hate speech policies to ban any content that "denies or distorts the Holocaust."

Why it matters: Zuckerberg was caught flat-footed in a 2018 interview with Kara Swisher, then host of the Recode Decode podcast, when he said that he didn't believe Facebook should take down Holocaust denial content because "I think there are things that different people get wrong," even if unintentionally.

  • Zuckerberg quickly clarified his statement at the time, emailing Swisher that "I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny that."
  • "Our goal with fake news is not to prevent anyone from saying something untrue — but to stop fake news and misinformation spreading across our services."

Details: Starting today, if people search for the Holocaust on Facebook, the company will start directing them to authoritative sources to get accurate information.

  • In a blog post explaining the policy, Facebook's VP of content policy Monika Bickert says, "Enforcement of these policies cannot happen overnight."
  • "There is a range of content that can violate these policies, and it will take some time to train our reviewers and systems on enforcement," she writes. "We are grateful to many partners for their input and candor as we work to keep our platform safe."
  • The company's policies already ban content that praises hate crimes or mass murder, including the Holocaust.

The big picture: Zuckerberg cites rising anti-Semitism as a reason for implementing this policy.

  • "I've struggled with the tension between standing for free expression and the harm caused by minimizing or denying the horror of the Holocaust."
  • "My own thinking has evolved as I've seen data showing an increase in anti-Semitic violence, as have our wider policies on hate speech. Drawing the right lines between what is and isn't acceptable speech isn't straightforward, but with the current state of the world, I believe this is the right balance."

Go deeper

Parties trade election influence accusations at Big Tech hearing

Photo: Michael Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

A Senate hearing Wednesday with Big Tech CEOs became the backdrop for Democrats and Republicans to swap accusations of inappropriate electioneering.

Why it matters: Once staid tech policy debates are quickly becoming a major focal point of American culture and political wars, as both parties fret about the impact of massive social networks being the new public square.

Oct 28, 2020 - Technology

Jack Dorsey: Twitter has no influence over elections

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Twitter does not have the ability to influence elections because there are ample additional sources of information, in response to questioning from Republican Sen. Ted Cruz during a hearing Wednesday.

Between the lines: The claim is sure to stir irritation on both the right and left. Conservatives argue Twitter and Facebook's moderation decisions help Democrats, while liberals contend the platforms shy from effectively cracking down on misinformation to appease Republicans.

Oct 28, 2020 - Technology

For tech CEOs, Capitol Hill is now mandatory

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Silicon Valley CEOs used to be a rare sight on Capitol Hill, but that's changing due to rising pre-election anger at Big Tech, along with a pandemic-spurred shift to video testimony.

Why it matters: The shift means Congress hears more from the CEOs of powerful companies that are shaping our world. But the hearings' partisan rancor tends to drowns out the policy debate.