Zuckerberg defends not suspending ex-Trump aide Bannon from Facebook -recording

The former adviser to Mr. Trump had suggested in a video that FBI Director Christopher Wray and government infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci should be beheaded for being disloyal.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg told an all-staff meeting on Thursday that former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon had not violated enough of the company’s policies to justify his suspension when he urged beheading two senior U.S. officials, according to a recording heard by Reuters.

“We have specific rules around how many times you need to violate certain policies before we will deactivate your account completely,” Mr. Zuckerberg said. “While the offenses here, I think, came close to crossing that line, they clearly did not cross the line.”

Mr. Bannon suggested in a video posted on November 5 that FBI Director Christopher Wray and government infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci should be beheaded, saying they had been disloyal to U.S. President Donald Trump, who last week lost his re-election bid.

“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,” Mr. Bannon said in the video.

Facebook removed the video but left up Mr. Bannon’s page, which has about 1,75,000 followers. Twitter banned Bannon last week over the same content.

Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said the company would take further action against Mr. Bannon’s page “if there are additional violations.”

Last Friday, Facebook took down a network of other Bannon-linked pages that were pushing false claims about the presidential election, after they were flagged to the world’s biggest social media company by activist group Avaaz.

Avaaz said seven of the largest pages had amassed nearly 2.5 million followers. Mr. Stone said Facebook had removed “several clusters of activity for using inauthentic behavior tactics to artificially boost how many people saw their content.”

Mr. Bannon could not immediately be reached for comment.

Mr. Zuckerberg spoke on the issue at a weekly forum with Facebook employees where he is sometimes asked to defend content and policy decisions. A staff member had asked why Mr. Bannon had not been banned.

Arrested in August, Mr. Bannon has pleaded not guilty to charges of defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors to the $25 million ”We Build the Wall” campaign. Mr. Bannon has dismissed the charges as politically motivated.

As Mr. Trump’s chief White House strategist, Mr. Bannon helped articulate Mr. Trump’s “America First” policy. Mr. Trump fired him in August 2017, ending Mr. Bannon’s turbulent tenure.

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