Mark Zuckerberg Refuses to Terminate Steve Bannon’s Facebook Account Despite Death Threats
During a virtual Senate Judiciary Hearing call with Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) on Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that he will not terminate right-wing provacateur and former White House adviser Steve Bannon’s account even after Bannon made death threats against Doctor Anthony Fauci.
Bannon called for Fauci to be beheaded in a Facebook post earlier this month after President Donald Trump lost the election.
Fauci has become a favorite target of Trump’s most dangerous supporters, many of whom are white nationalists, over his recommendations that people wear masks to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Trump has downplayed the coronavirus crisis by denying its severity and contradicting his own experts. This has led to the virus infecting at least 11.3 million Americans and a quarter-of-a-million deaths.
Facebook has attempted to remain politically neutral, and has even said publicly that they do not want to upset conservatives. Unfortunately, this approach has resulted in a deluge of fake news, propaganda, and calls for violence by people who have sworn allegiance to Trump.
Lawmakers, along with the public, find it difficult to comprehend why Facebook chooses to coddle terrorists.
“How many times is Steve Bannon allowed to call for the murder of government officials before Facebook suspends his account?” Blumenthal asked the social media mogul.
“Senator, as you say, the content in question did violate our policies and we did take it down,” Zuckerberg said, referring to the post itself.
“Having a content violation does not automatically mean your account gets taken down and the number of strikes varies depending on the type of offense, so if people are posting terrorist content or child exploitation content then the first time that they do it, then we will take down their account,” Zuckerberg continued.
Terrorist content, however, is precisely what Bannon posted. But because Facebook is notoriously lenient toward public officials who make incendiary remarks – including the president of the United States, who has threatened Iran and North Korea with nuclear war and encouraged his supporters to commit violent acts – Bannon’s account was not taken down.
“For other things, it’s multiple… I’d be happy to follow up afterwards, we try not to disclose these…” Zuckerberg said.
“Will you commit to taking down his account?” Blumenthal interjected.
“Sorry I didn’t hear that,” Zuckerberg replied (sure, Jan).
“Will you commit to taking down that account – Steve Bannon’s account?” Blumenthal reiterated.
“Senator, no, that’s not what our policies suggest that we should do in this case,” Zuckerberg replied.
Watch below, courtesy of Crooks and Liars:
Later in the hearing, Zuckerberg also said that Facebook would not change the way it monitors Trump’s account after he leaves office, which at face value goes against the policies Zuckerberg claims to be upholding.
Blumenthal went on to say that the tech industry should face much stricter regulations due to the enormous power and influence it has amassed.
“You have built terrifying tools of persuasion and manipulation — with power far exceeding the robber barons of the last Gilded Age,” Blumenthal told Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who also took part in the hearing. “You have made a huge amount of money by strip mining data about our private lives and promoting hate speech and voter suppression.”
Sixty-four days until the inauguration.