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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

Facebook takes new steps to deter inauguration week violence

Photo: by Valera Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Facebook on Friday said it would block the creation of new events near the U.S. Capitol and state capitol buildings as it tries to prevent violence in the week of the inauguration.

Why it matters: Facebook and other tech companies are scrambling to stop their platforms from being used to plan or carry out violence following the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."