Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Defends Free Speech

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Facebook says it won't remove 'newsworthy' content that goes against its community standards. Zuckerberg was speaking at Georgetown University. Full details.

Written By Tech Desk | Mumbai | Updated On:
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Facebook says it won't remove 'newsworthy' content that goes against its community standards. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has defended Facebook's refusal to take down content it considers newsworthy “even if it goes against our standards.” Zuckerberg was speaking at Georgetown University.

Technology companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter are all trying to be in charge of internet content but at the same time, they are also avoiding infringing on First Amendment rights.

This has swung recently toward restricting hateful speech that could spawn violence. The shift follows mass shootings in which the suspects have posted racist screeds online or otherwise expressed hateful views or streamed images of attacks.

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In March, the Christchurch mosque shooting in New Zealand that killed 51 people was live-streamed on Facebook

Of late, social media giant also has come under criticism for not doing enough to filter out political lies that contribute to Facebook's Ad business.

“Right now, we’re doing a very good job at getting everyone mad at us,” Zuckerberg said.

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During his speech, Zuckerberg also criticised Chinese censorship. He said serious threats to expression are coming from places such as China, where social media platforms used by protesters are censored, and from court decisions restricting the location of internet users’ data in certain countries.

“I’m here today because I believe that we must continue to stand for free expression,” he said. People of varied political beliefs are trying to define expansive speech as dangerous because it could bring results they don’t accept, Zuckerberg said. “I personally believe this is more dangerous to democracy in the long term than almost any speech.”

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Taking note of mounting criticism of the market dominance of Facebook and other tech giants, Zuckerberg acknowledged the companies’ centralized power but said it’s also “decentralized by putting it directly into people’s hands. ... Giving people a voice and broader inclusion go hand in hand.”

Facebook with nearly 2.5 billion users worldwide is under heavy scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators following a series of data privacy scandals.

(With AP inputs)

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