Zuckerberg Pledges Free Speech On Facebook In Wake Of Charlie Hebdo Attack

Giuseppe Macri Tech Editor
Font Size:

Mark Zuckerberg is committed to ensuring Facebook will always be a platform for free speech, and in a Facebook post early Friday morning, said he and the world’s largest social media platform stand with the victims of the attack on the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

In the post, Zuckerberg recalled a 2010 incident in Pakistan in which a Pakistani lawyer tried to have the Facebook CEO sentenced to death because the social media network refused to remove content dealing with the Muslim prophet Muhammad, which some Muslims found blasphemous and offensive.

“We stood up for this because different voices — even if they’re sometimes offensive — can make the world a better and more interesting place,” Zuckerberg wrote. “Facebook has always been a place where people across the world share their views and ideas. We follow the laws in each country, but we never let one country or group of people dictate what people can share across the world.”

While recalling the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo Wednesday in which several masked men gunned down 12 people — including two police officers and two cartoonists well-known for satirizing Islamic extremism — Zuckerberg said that it’s our duty to reject “a group of extremists trying to silence the voices and opinions of everyone else around the world.”

“I won’t let that happen on Facebook. I’m committed to building a service where you can speak freely without fear of violence.”

Zuckerberg said he stands with the victims, their families, the French people and those all over the world choosing to stand up for free expression, and finished the statement with the hashtag “JeSuisCharlie”, which has become a symbol of solidarity for those in support of Charlie Hebdo and the pro-free speech message the paper represents in the wake of the attack.

French authorities tracked the two chief suspects in the attack to a warehouse north of Paris and another suspect to a supermarket in the eastern part of the city Friday, where all three were killed when police stormed the areas.

Follow Giuseppe on Twitter and Facebook