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Our failure to remove militia page operational mistake: Facebook CEO

The Facebook CEO said the company is going to continue to enforce its policies and continue evolving them to be able to identify more potential dangerous organisations. 

San Francisco: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has blamed an operational mistake by the third-party contractors and reviewers who failed to remove the Kenosha Guard militia Page and Event prior to the shooting in Wisconsin in the US that left two dead.

In a video message, Zuckerberg said on Saturday that the ‘Kenosha’ Page and Event violated Facebook policies and there have been a bunch of media reports asking why this Page was not removed sooner.

“It was largely an operational mistake. We have a team specialized team that enforces the policy against such dangerous organisations. The contractors, the reviewers who the initial complaints were funneled to basically didn’t pick this up,” he said.

On the second review, the Facebook team took the ‘Kenosha’ militia page down as part of the new policy addressing groups linked to violence such as militias. A 17-year-old teenager has been arrested on murder charges after two people were killed amid violent protests against the police shooting of an African-American man in the state earlier this week.

On Wednesday, Kyle Rittenhouse was charged with first-degree intentional homicide and was arrested in his hometown of Antioch, Illinois, about 30 minutes away from Kenosha. Police officers identified the victims as a 26-year-old and a 36-year-old who died, and another 26-year-old who was injured in the shooting.

The Kenosha Guard militia established a Facebook Page in June this year. They used another Facebook Event page to invite “any patriots willing to take up arms and defend out City tonight from the evil thugs”, referencing those protesting the police shooting of Jacob Blake. The shootings took place during the third night of unrest in Kenosha against the shooting of 29-year-old Blake by the police.

“We designated the shooting as a mass murder, and removed the shooter’s page. His accounts from Facebook, Instagram were deleted,” Zuckerberg said.

“We have our teams proactively looking for content and removing content that praises the shooting or the shooter. We’ve been generally applying a warning screen to disturbing imagery as we would normally do,” he said.

The Facebook CEO said the company is going to continue to enforce its policies and continue evolving them to be able to identify more potential dangerous organisations.

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