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Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP via Getty Images

Paul Packer, appointed by President Trump as chairman of the U.S. Commission to Preserve America’s Heritage Abroad, an independent government agency, has sent an official letter to Mark Zuckerberg condemning his comments on Holocaust denial and calling on Facebook to change its content policy. 

Axios has obtained a copy of the letter, posted in full below, in which Packer puts pressure on Zuckerberg to meet his "ethical obligation" and not allow "further destruction" of history. Packer also invited Zuckerberg to join the Commission on a trip to countries previously under Nazi control in order to "educate" him about the importance of preserving history.

Axios reached out to Packer, who confirmed he has had multiple discussions with Facebook. The company has had a draft of the letter since last week, Packer said, and he met with senior Facebook executive Joel Kaplan this week in D.C. to raise his concerns. Multiple Facebook executives were dialed into the meeting via video conference.

Between the lines: Facebook took Packer's concerns seriously enough to dispatch one of its highest ranking policy executives to deal with them.

What they're saying

Packer told Axios the Commission “very much appreciates Facebook’s willingness to discuss the matter, however the use of Facebook as a platform for Holocaust denial in the greatest country in the world should never be accepted and cannot be tolerated.”

  • Packer added: “20 years from now, when the next generation searches for Holocaust, there will be no survivors to tell their stories. The idea that Facebook would allow people to rewrite history is unacceptable.”

Kaplan told Axios: “We appreciated the opportunity to hear directly from Paul Packer ... and to express our agreement with Mr. Packer that Holocaust denial is abhorrent and offensive. ... We do not let people celebrate, defend, or attempt to justify the Holocaust, nor do we permit content that mocks Holocaust victims, accuses victims of lying about the atrocities, spews hate or advocates for violence.

  • Kapplan added: "That said, we do not remove content simply for being factually inaccurate, whether it’s about the Holocaust, any other world event or anything else."
The backdrop

Zuckerberg faced intense heat last week after telling Recode's Kara Swisher that Facebook would not remove posts denying that the Holocaust took place because it's hard to determine when users intentionally get the facts wrong.

  • After being heavily criticized for his remarks, Zuckerberg tried to clarify his comments in an email to Swisher: "I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn't intend to defend the intent of people who deny that," he wrote.
  • However, Packer argues that his follow up statement wasn't enough, and that Facebook needs to do more to ensure Holocaust denials are removed the site.

Read the letter:

Go deeper

Updated 33 mins ago - Health

WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Health measures taken to combat COVID-19 before the emergence of Omicron would also help against the new variant of concern, World Health Organization officials said Friday.

What they're saying: Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, said during a virtual briefing broadcast from Manila, Philippines, that border controls imposed by the U.S. and other nations can "buy time" to deal with the variant, but warned "every country and every community must prepare for new surges in cases."

2 hours ago - Health

Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Nevada's Public Employees' Benefit Program Board voted Thursday to charge workers enrolled in public employee health insurance plans a surcharge of up to $55 a month if they're not vaccinated against COVID-19, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state to announce such a move, per AP.

Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin testifies before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Sept. 29 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Getty Images

The state of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Thursday in an attempt to block the enforcement of its vaccine mandate for federal employees.

Why it matters: The move comes one day after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin denied Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt's (R) request to exempt the state's National Guard from the mandate.

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