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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.

Hill votes will make global waves

President Biden addresses the UN General Assembly on Sept. 21, 2021 in New York City. Photo: Eduardo Munoz-Pool/Getty Images)

This epic week for President Biden on Capitol Hill is even bigger than his domestic agenda.

Why it matters: Biden has anchored his entire strategy for foreign affairs on the notion that "America is back." What that means in practice is that Biden needs to prove democracy works to rally America’s liberal allies against rising authoritarians.

4 hours ago - World

German election: Exit polls show close race to succeed Angela Merkel

SPD leader Olaf Scholz. Photo: Alex Kraus/Bloomberg via Getty Images

BERLIN — The first exit poll from Sunday's German elections showed the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) and the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) in a dead heat at 25%, leaving the race to succeed Angela Merkel too close to call.

The state of play: A second exit poll showed the SPD narrowly ahead. That's the one televisions displayed at SPD headquarters in Berlin, where the room erupted into cheers. Official results will roll in throughout the evening.