Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has promised that the social network will always welcome Muslims, just days after Donald Trump sparked widespread condemnation with incendiary comments on race relations.
Zuckerberg, who recently became a father, posted a statement on his own Facebookpage this evening promising that he would not allow the network to ‘succumb to cynicism’.
His post reads: “If you’re a Muslim in this community, as the leader of Facebook I want you to know that you are always welcome here and that we will fight to protect your rights and create a peaceful and safe environment for you.
“Having a child has given us so much hope, but the hate of some can make it easy to succumb to cynicism. We must not lose hope. As long as we stand together and see the good in each other, we can build a better world for all people.”
The statement comes just days after US Republican presidential hopeful Trump brought condemnation upon himself after saying all Muslims should be banned from entering the US.
While he does not mention Trump by name, or address his comments, the timing of the statement is notable, as the fallout from the mogul’s comments causes international waves.
Around 250,000 people have signed a petition calling for the US Apprentice star to be blocked for coming to the UK, although the George Osborne has said he will still be free to visit.
The Chancellor attacked the White House hopeful’s “nonsense” remarks – branding him “profoundly wrong”.
But he said: “I think the best way to defeat nonsense like this is to engage in robust, democratic debate and make it very clear that his views are not welcome.
“That is the best way to deal with Donald Trump and his views, rather than try to ban presidential candidates.”
The online debate surrounding Trump’s comments is raging, and while many users refute his opinions entirely, many people will also back him – which can lead to unsuitable content being posted on the social network.
While Facebook has clear guidelines on what and what cannot be posted, there is a great variety of profiles and pages – many of which could be considered offensive.
For example, the far right group Britain First has courted controversy for the opaque way it has collected ‘likes’ on its page, with some of their own followers complaining that they did not realise the group’s agenda when they ‘liked’ generic pictures it circulated.
While the group’s page was temporarily suspended last month for an incident of ‘hate speech’ it has been allowed to flourish by the social network, which relies mainly of self-policing with users reporting offensive pages or posts.
Under its guidelines on what Facbook considers to be hate speech, it states: “Content that attacks people based on their actual or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or disease is not allowed.
“We do, however, allow clear attempts at humor or satire that might otherwise be considered a possible threat or attack. This includes content that many people may find to be in bad taste (ex: jokes, stand-up comedy, popular song lyrics, etc.)”
After Britain First’s suspension, Facebook was criticised by the far right group’s leaders as “fascist” and said the move denied freedom of speech to 1.1million people who have liked the page.
The page was restored an hour and a half later – and a Facebook spokesman said it had been taken down due to an ‘error’.
A Britain First statement said: “Facebook resisted attempts by political opponents hostile to Britain First to get our page closed down, but now it seems they have “unpublished” it.
“This means that our 1.1 million supporters have been denied freedom of speech and expression.”
The group said the page had been visited by 150 million people worldwide last week and had twice as many likes than the Conservative Party.
Its statement continued: “We have launched an immediate legal fund to drag Facebook into court.
“Facebook have destroyed freedom of speech and democracy in one swoop!
“We must fight this politically correct and cowardly attempt to ban criticism of Islam and immigration on the most popular social network in the world.”
Source – www.mirror.co.uk