- Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook should have taken down the page and event listing promoting a militia group that called for armed citizens to defend Kenosha, Wisconsin, amid ongoing protests there.
- The event listing was removed after 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse was accused of opening fire in Kenosha on Tuesday, killing two people. He’s been charged with first-degree intentional homicide.
- Zuckerberg said there was no evidence to show Rittenhouse was following the event page or was invited to the event that called for armed citizens to “protect” the city.
- The event was flagged to Facebook at least 455 times after it was created, BuzzFeed reported.
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the social-media network was slow to remove a listing that encouraged armed civilians to go defend Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The event, titled: “Armed Citizens to Protect Our Lives and Property,” and the page, “Kenosha Guard,” were removed after two people were killed in a shooting there on Tuesday.
Seventeen-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse has been arrested in connection with the shooting and is now facing a first-degree intentional homicide charge.
On Thursday more charges, including first-degree reckless homicide, and first-degree reckless endangerment were filed against Rittenhouse by the Kenosha County district attorney, Michael Graveley.
At a press conference Thursday, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes described Rittenhouse as an “outside agitator.”
“He came in from Illinois with a long rifle and was able to just walk the streets, freely, like that’s something normal we should just come to expect,” Barnes said.
In the video posted on Friday, Zuckerberg said that the page and the event violated the company’s policies and should have been removed sooner.
However, he also said there was no evidence to show that Rittenhouse was following that page or was invited to the event that called for armed citizens to “protect” the city.
BuzzFeed reported that the event was flagged to Facebook at least 455 times after it was created. The outlet said it reviewed a copy of an internal report that showed four moderators cleared the event and labeled it as “nonviolating.”
“To put that number into perspective,” a Facebook worker said in an internal memo about user reports concerning the event page, “it made up 66% of all event reports that day.”
In a statement to Business Insider, a Facebook spokesperson said: “We launched this policy last week and we’re still scaling up our enforcement of it by a team of specialists on our Dangerous Organizations team.”
Zuckerberg said the issue wasn’t picked up until a second round of reviews.
“The contractors, the reviewers who the initial complaints were funneled to, didn’t, basically, didn’t pick this up,” Zuckerberg said. “And 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.”
The Facebook CEO didn’t specify whether any of the reviewers were reprimanded for not removing the event or the page.
Protests in Kenosha began after the Sunday police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man. His injuries have left him paralyzed from the waist down, his father said on Tuesday. Protests eventually erupted in cities all across the US reigniting a conversation about police brutality and racism.