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Mark Zuckerberg asks for “forgiveness” if Facebook “was used to divide people”

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Mark Zuckerberg seemed to ask for forgiveness this weekend for the way that the platform he created, Facebook, was used by the Russians to influence the most recent presidential election.

Zuckerberg, who is Jewish, said late on Saturday that as he celebrated Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, he was thinking about some of his sins in the previous year.

“For those I hurt this year, I ask forgiveness and I will try to be better,” he wrote on his personal Facebook page. “For the ways my work was used to divide people rather than bring us together, I ask forgiveness and I will work to do better.”

In recent weeks, Zuckerberg has conceded that Russian actors used Facebook to spread divisive messages as part of a broader Russian scheme to influence the U.S. presidential race. Facebook has turned over the ads purchased by Russian forces to investigators on Capitol Hill, and the social network has also been asked to testify before Congress this fall.

The Yom Kippur note is Zuckerberg’s latest display of increased personal responsibility after first largely dismissing Facebook’s negative role in the campaign. A few days after Donald Trump won the presidency, Zuckerberg memorably dismissed the notion that so-called “fake news” on the site has enabled Trump’s rise as a “pretty crazy idea.”

But last month, Facebook’s tone largely changed as it uncovered the 3,000 ads [laced on its site by Russian sources. Last week, Zuckerberg said he did “regret” making such a “dismissive” comment right after Election Day.

Now, this.

Zuckerberg originally considered himself an atheist, but said late last year, “now I believe religion is very important.” In recent months, for instance, he has posted photos from Sabbath dinner with his family.

Here’s his full note:

Tonight concludes Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews when we reflect on the past year and ask forgiveness for our mistakes. For those I hurt this year, I ask forgiveness and I will try to be better. For the ways my work was used to divide people rather than bring us together, I ask forgiveness and I will work to do better. May we all be better in the year ahead, and may you all be inscribed in the book of life.


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