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Zuckerberg vows to remove hate speech on Facebook

Following violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, the social network's CEO also condemns neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke up Wednesday about violent protests over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

James Martin/CNET

Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday weighed in on the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.

The Facebook CEO promised the social network will take down any post that "promotes or celebrates hate crimes or acts of terrorism." He also condemned neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

"With the potential for more rallies, we're watching the situation closely and will take down threats of physical harm," he wrote on his Facebook page. "We won't always be perfect, but you have my commitment that we'll keep working to make Facebook a place where everyone can feel safe."

Over the weekend, white nationalist groups gathered in Charlottesville to protest the planned takedown of a statue of confederate general Robert E. Lee. During the rally, Heather Heyer, who was there as a counter-protester, was killed when a car plowed into the crowd.

In the aftermath, Silicon Valley companies have been grappling with their influence and role over the spread of information. On Monday, both Google and GoDaddy cancelled the domain registration of neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer for violating each company's terms of service. Facebook, with its 2 billion users, has the power distribute information and help people organize faster than ever before.

Zuckerberg in recent months has been more willing to wade into political debate. For example, he sharply criticized President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration. On Wednesday, he got even more personal.

"I know a lot of us have been asking where this hate comes from. As a Jew, it's something I've wondered much of my life," Zuckerberg wrote. "It's a disgrace that we still need to say that neo-Nazis and white supremacists are wrong -- as if this is somehow not obvious."

Zuckerberg's post also aligns with the company's newly revised mission of "bringing the world closer together," instead of merely making it "more open and connected" -- which has been the company's motto for years. On Wednesday, he brought it back to the company line: "We need to bring people closer together, and I know we can make progress at that."

We aren't born hating each other. We aren't born with such extreme views. We may not be able to solve every problem, but...

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