Zuckerberg says Facebook’s failure to remove Kenosha militia page was ‘an operational mistake’

Founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the annual Munich Security Conference on February 15, 2020.

Kuhlmann | Munich Security Conference

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Friday told employees that the company’s failure to remove the page and event for a militia group before two people were killed at a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was “largely an operational mistake.”

Zuckerberg addressed employees after a report from The Verge found that at least two Facebook users had reported the group and event to the company. Facebook removed the group from its service on Wednesday, after a gunman killed two people at a Tuesday night protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man.

“The contractors and reviewers who the initial complaints were funneled to basically didn’t pick this up,” Zuckerberg said in a video to employees that he later posted publicly on his Facebook profile. “On second review, doing it more sensitively, the team that’s responsible for dangerous organizations recognized that this violated the policies and we took it down.”

Zuckerberg posted his address following a Friday BuzzFeed report about the company’s town hall, highlighting that several employees criticized their CEO for the company’s failure to remove the pages.

Zuckerberg said the company is now proactively looking for content that praises the alleged shooter and the shooting. However, a Thursday report from The Guardian found that there were still several posts praising the alleged shooter and the shooting across Facebook, despite that being in violation of the company’s policies.   

“We’re going to continue to enforce our policies and continue evolving the policies to be able to identify more potential dangerous organizations and improve our execution in order to keep on getting ahead of this,” Zuckerberg said. “I think that this shows that there is a real risk and a continued increased risk through the election during this very sensitive and polarized and just highly charged time.”

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