Zuckerberg posts Yom Kippur message of apology for Facebook misuse


Mark Zuckerberg speaking at the Samsung Electronics Co. Unpacked launch event ahead of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 21, 2016. Mobile (Pau Barrena/Bloomberg)

(JTA) — Facebook CEO Marc Zuckerberg in a post-Yom Kippur message on his social network asked for forgiveness for the misuse of Facebook in the past year.

He posted on his personal Facebook account: “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.”

Tonight concludes Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews when we reflect on the past year and ask forgiveness…

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Saturday, September 30, 2017

Though Zuckerberg did not say to what he was referring, some speculated that he meant the use of Facebook in last year’s election in which at least 3,000 ads on the Facebook site had been placed by a Russian agency to influence the 2016 presidential election. The discovery of the ads came after months of denial by Zuckerberg that Facebook played any role in influencing U.S. voters.

In addition, an investigative news website recently discovered that it was possible to target ads at Facebook users who expressed interest in subjects such as “Jew hater” and “how to burn Jews.” Facebook removed the categories after being alerted to their existence and said it would seek to prevent such categories from popping up for potential advertisers.

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Zuckerberg’s followers replied with praise for the good that Facebook has done for them and praised him for his decision to respect his Jewish heritage.

Other responses to Zuckerberg’s post on Saturday night attacked him and his reference to religion.

“Oh former atheist Mark Zuckerberg, suddenly so religious now that he’s aiming for the world’s presidency,” Brazilian ad platform Boo Box co-founder Marco Gomes tweeted.

He added in a second tweet: “To make it very clear: no problem in being an atheist whatsoever; the problem is to use religion as a political tool”

“Forgiveness is denied by both. God and humanity, since you & Sheryl knew what was happening, condoned it, & then lied about both its existence and impact,” Matt Ocko, partner at VC fund Data Collective, said in a tweet.