PALO ALTO, Nov 12 (Reuters) – 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, 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,” Zuckerberg said. “While the offenses here, I think, came close to crossing that line, they clearly did not cross the line.”
Bannon suggested in a video last week 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.
Facebook removed the video but left up Bannon’s page. The company had not previously answered questions about those actions and did not immediately respond to a Reuters request about Zuckerberg’s comments.
Twitter banned Bannon last week over the same content.
Zuckerberg spoke on the issue at a weekly forum with Facebook employees where he is sometimes asked to defend content and policy decisions, like the question on Thursday from a staff member asking why Bannon had not been banned.
Arrested in August, Bannon has pleaded not guilty to charges of defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors to the $25 million “We Build the Wall” campaign. Bannon has dismissed the charges as politically motivated.
As Trump’s chief White House strategist, Bannon helped articulate Trump’s “America First” policy. Trump fired him in August 2017, ending Bannon’s turbulent tenure.(Reporting by Katie Paul; Editing by Greg Mitchell and Howard Goller)