'You Have Failed Your Users and the World at Large': Trump Appointee Delivers Scathing Indictment of Mark Zuckerberg's View of Holocaust Denial
In a letter published by Axios, Chairman of the U.S. Commission to Preserve America’s Heritage Abroad Paul Packer repudiated Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's recent comments on the Holocaust, telling him, "you have failed your users and the world at large."
The U.S. Commission to Preserve America’s Heritage Abroad is an independent agency charged with advocating on behalf of monuments, cemeteries, and properties "that are associated with the heritage of U.S. citizens." Packer was appointed to his position on the commission, which was begun in part as a response to the Holocaust, by President Donald Trump.
Zuckerberg ignited a backlash last week when he discussed his site's policy of not removing Holocaust denial materials.
"I’m Jewish, and there’s a set of people who deny that the Holocaust happened," Zuckerberg told Recode. "I find that deeply offensive. 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."
Many observers noted in response that Holocaust denial isn't typically the result of a genuine misunderstanding, but it is instead a pernicious strand of anti-Semitism intended to corrupt history and spur hatred of Jewish people.
"Your comments were not only divisive—they were dangerous," Packer wrote to Zuckerberg. "Through your words and Facebook's policies, you have empowered those who would deny the undeniable. Let me be clear: Nothing about Holocaust denial is 'unintentional.' Indeed, by hosting extremists and allowing them to publicly deny history on your platform, you are participating in a profoundly concerning trend the rewriting of history, which threatens to doom us to repeat the atrocities of the past.
He continued: "I urge you to meet your ethical obligation not to allow the further destruction and endangerment of our history by changing Facebook's policy immediately so that historical denial of the kind you defended is no longer allowed."
Facebook executive Joel Kaplan told Axios: "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. ... 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."