Zuckerberg safeguards Facebook’s hands-off reaction to Trump’s questionable post, report states

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s method to political speech is drawing criticism from his own staff members. 


James Martin/CNET

Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is supposedly waiting the business’s choice to not do something about it versus a post by President Donald Trump that staff members state might prompt violence.

The New York Times, which listened to audio of an internal conference, reported Tuesday that Zuckerberg informed staff members he had actually made a “tough decision” however that it “was pretty thorough.” His remarks came a day after numerous Facebook staff members staged a virtual walkout to object the business’s choice, which contrasted with how Twitter managed the exact same material.

In social networks posts shared on both Twitter and Facebook, Trump stated “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” The president made the remarks in reaction to news about demonstrations that appeared following the death of George Floyd, a black male in Minnesota who passed away after a white law enforcement officer pinned him down by putting a knee on Floyd’s neck. The event was recorded in a video that reveals Floyd consistently stating he can’t breathe. 

Twitter evaluated out the president’s tweet with a notification that states the post breaks its guidelines versus glorifying violence. But since the president’s words are of public interest, Twitter stated, users can click a View button in the notification to check out the tweet. Facebook left up Trump’s post untouched after the business figured out the president’s remarks didn’t breach its guidelines versus producing “imminent risk of specific harms or dangers.” Facebook permits conversation around state usage of force, and Zuckerberg stated the business left up Trump’s post since it referenced the National Guard, so the social media “read it as a warning about state action.” He likewise kept in mind that Trump later on clarified that his post was a cautioning about how robbery might cause violence.

In his video call with staff members, Zuckerberg stated that the business figured out after some research study and talking with “different folks” that Trump’s referral to robbery and shooting “is clearly to aggressive policing — maybe excessive policing — but it has no history of being read as a dog whistle for vigilante supporters to take justice into their own hands,” Recode reported, pointing out audio of the conference.

A Facebook representative stated that “open and honest discussion has always been a part of Facebook’s culture.” “Mark had an open discussion with employees today, as he has regularly over the years. He’s grateful for their feedback,” he included.


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Conservatives have accused Facebook and other sites of censoring their speech, but the companies have repeatedly denied these allegations. Trump signed an executive order Thursday in an attempt to curtail federal legal protections that social networks get in regard to posts created by their users. The order is already facing legal challenges. On Tuesday, the Center for Democracy and Technology filed a lawsuit against Trump’s executive order, alleging that it violates the First Amendment and is retaliatory against Twitter.  

Facebook employees are reportedly divided over whether the company did the right thing with Trump’s posts. The social network typically has a hands-off approach to posts and ads posted by politicians but draws a line when the content could cause “imminent risk of specific harms or dangers.” The company sets a higher bar for removing political speech, arguing that people should be able to see what politicians say and that their speech is already heavily scrutinized by the public and media. 

One Facebook employee, who wasn’t named, told Business Insider that he thought the company technically applied its policies correctly but questioned whether the rules were “ultimately sustainable.”

Others expressed their disappointment with the meeting publicly on Twitter. Facebook engineer Brandon Dail said in a tweet that “It’s crystal clear today that leadership refuses to stand with us.”

Some Facebook employees have threatened to resign, and a number have followed through with the decision. On Tuesday, Facebook software engineer Timothy Aveni said in a post on the social network and on LinkedIn that he’s leaving his job on June 12.

“Mark always told us that he would draw the line at speech that calls for violence. He showed us on Friday that this was a lie. Facebook will keep moving the goalposts every time Trump escalates, finding excuse after excuse not to act on increasingly dangerous rhetoric,” Aveni said in a Facebook post.

It’s unclear how many Facebook employees have resigned in protest. The company has more than 48,200 workers worldwide. Facebook didn’t respond to questions about how many people are leaving the company.



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