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Zuckerberg: ‘I absolutely didn't intend to defend’ Holocaust deniers

Zuckerberg: ‘I absolutely didn't intend to defend’ Holocaust deniers
© Greg Nash

Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergSenate Dem asks tech companies to look into Saudi propaganda efforts Hillicon Valley: Russia-linked hackers hit Eastern European companies | Twitter shares data on influence campaigns | Dems blast Trump over China interference claims | Saudi crisis tests Silicon Valley | Apple to let customers download their data Public funds support proposal to remove Zuckerberg as Facebook chairman MORE on Wednesday said he did not "intend to defend Holocaust deniers" after facing pushback for comments he made on a Recode podcast posted on Tuesday. 

"I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny that," Zuckerberg said in an email to the Recode Decode podcast host Kara Swisher.

Critics have blasted the Facebook chief for saying it is "hard to impugn intent" when it comes to those who deny the Holocaust.

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Swisher asked Zuckerberg to discuss Facebook's "fake news" policy, which does not remove falsehoods but demotes them.

"I’m Jewish, and there’s a set of people who deny that the Holocaust happened," Zuckerberg said, as an example. 

"I find that deeply offensive," he continued. "But at the end of the day, I don’t believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong."

"I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong," he added.

When Swisher said Holocaust deniers often knowingly spread lies, Zuckerberg replied, "It’s hard to impugn intent and to understand the intent." 

Zuckerberg faced criticism for the remark.

"Holocaust denial is a willful, deliberate and longstanding deception tactic by anti-Semites that is incontrovertibly hateful, hurtful, and threatening to Jews," Jonathan Greenblat, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, told CNNMoney. "Facebook has a moral and ethical obligation not to allow its dissemination."

Facebook has faced months of intense public scrutiny over revelations that the platform enabled the spread of "fake news" during the 2016 presidential election.

Zuckerberg has repeatedly said Facebook avoids banning content because it is difficult to differentiate between outright falsehoods and analysis or opinion.