Why Facebook hasn't banned Steve Bannon? Mark Zuckerberg says he didn't cross line with 'beheading Fauci' remark

'While the offenses here, I think, came close to crossing that line, they clearly did not cross the line,' said Zuckerberg

                            Why Facebook hasn't banned Steve Bannon? Mark Zuckerberg says he didn't cross line with 'beheading Fauci' remark
Mark Zuckerbeg, Steve Bannon and Dr. Anthony Fauci (Getty Images)

On November 5, Steve Bannon, in a video posted on Facebook, suggested that FBI Director Christopher Wray and government infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci should be beheaded as they had been disloyal to President Donald Trump. Bannon, who was earlier Trump's chief White House strategist, said in the video, "I'd put the heads on pikes. Right. I'd put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats. You either get with the program or you are gone." Trump, who last week lost his reelection bid to Joe Biden, had fired Bannon in August 2017.

Now, according to a report published by Reuters, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg told an all-staff meeting that Bannon hadn't violated enough of the company's policies to justify his suspension. According to a recording heard by Reuters, Zuckerberg said, "We have specific rules around how many times you need to violate certain policies before we will deactivate your account completely. While the offenses here, I think, came close to crossing that line, they clearly did not cross the line." Zuckerberg's statements came during a weekly forum with Facebook employees when a staff member asked why Bannon hadn't been banned. Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said the company would take further action "if there are additional violations." Twitter banned Bannon over the same comments.

Steve Bannon (Getty Images)

Recently, Facebook deleted a number of Bannon-linked pages that were promoting false claims about the US election. These pages were flagged by activist group Avaaz that reported seven pages with nearly 2.5 million followers. Regarding these deletions, Stone said Facebook removed "several clusters of activity for using inauthentic behavior tactics to artificially boost how many people saw their content."

Zuckerberg also addressed criticism of Facebook by Biden and members of his team saying "just because some people might talk in a way that's more antagonistic to us, it doesn't necessarily mean that speaks for what the whole group or whole administration is going to stand for." He was referring to Biden's comments to the New York Times where the president-elect said that he had "never been a fan of Facebook" and considered Zuckerberg "a real problem."

Zuckerberg's comments received sharp backlash on Twitter where one user said, "Well there you have it. From the horse’s mouth. Zuck explains why calling for beheading on Facebook comes ‘close to the line’ but ‘does not cross the line’. Thought experiment, Facebook: maybe the line is in the wrong place," while another tweeted, "Absolutely infuriating. Bannon talked about assassinating two federal officials and was caught running a bot network on their platform in the same week!!! What a fucking joke. Facebook is a cesspool that deserves every bit of regulation that’s coming." Another account, slamming Zuckerberg, wrote, "According to Mark Zuckerberg, Bannon calling for the 'beheading' of Dr. Fauci does not violate Facebook’s standards. Just going to point out that I got banned by Facebook for making them look bad to US regulators, which obviously is far far worse."

A different user, expressing a similar opinion, wrote, "Mark Zuckerberg would like to see a few actual dead bodies before he feels comfortable suspending Bannon," while another said, "I wonder if Facebook would suspend me if I suggested Mark Zuckerberg be beheaded? I’m going to guess yes – in a New York minute. The reality is Steve Bannon’s account brings eyeballs, and therefore the almighty $$ to Facebook."






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