Facebook employees publicly criticize Zuckerberg's inaction on Trump posts

02 Juin, 2020, 03:57 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Lyfe Tavarres of Portland negotiates with police during a protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd in Portland Oregon United States

Trump, in a May 29 post on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, wrote that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" in reference to the unrest in Minneapolis, where protests erupted after the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by city police officers last week.

"Mark is wrong, and I will endeavor in the loudest possible way to change his mind", Ryan Freitas, director of product design for Facebook's News Feed, said in a tweet Sunday.

Joseph Evans, head of tech at Enders Analysis said that staff at tech firms do speak out against their employers' decisions on occasion; in 2018 Google staff walked out in protest against the firm's treatment of women."Part of the appeal of working for these companies is that the employees feel they're changing the world, and hopefully for the better", he said.

"While I understand why we chose to stay squarely within the four corners of our violence and incitement policy, I think it would have been right for us to make a "spirit of the policy" exception that took more context into account", he wrote. Zhu encouraged others who work for Facebook's apps to join her and "organize", while also sharing a screenshot of her paid time off status including the description #BlackLivesMatter.

Zuckerberg has reportedly responded to the employees' protest by moving his weekly meeting to Tuesday instead of Thursday and encouraging them to question him directly about his choices. "As we face additional hard decisions around content ahead, we'll continue seeking their honest feedback", a spokesperson said.

Twitter, in contrast, put a warning label on a tweet in which the president said the same thing, saying it violated rules against glorifying violence.

Zuckerberg authored a lengthy Facebook post Friday, saying he had a "visceral negative reaction to this kind of divisive and inflammatory rhetoric", but said he is responsible for reacting "as the leader of an institution committed to free expression".

Some Facebook employees are slamming the social network for not following Twitter's example in flagging posts from President Trump.

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"Facebook's inaction in taking down Trump's post inciting violence makes me ashamed to work here", Lauren Tan, a software engineer wrote. I categorically disagree with any policy that does otherwise. "There isn't a neutral position on racism". "But giving a platform to incite violence and spread disinformation is unacceptable, regardless who you are or if it's newsworthy", wrote Andrew Crow of Facebook's Portal product line.

Late Sunday, Zuckerberg again posted on Facebook, pledging a $10 million donation to racial justice groups. Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post on Monday that the company would contribute an additional $10 million to social justice causes.

Facebook has been reluctant to limit posts by Trump that Twitter has taken action against.

The blue exclamation mark notification on May 26 prompted readers to "get the facts about mail-in ballots", and directed them to a page with news articles and information about the claims aggregated by Twitter staffers. "We remove content, disable accounts, and work with law enforcement when we believe there is a genuine risk of physical harm or direct threats to public safety".

Tensions between social media platform Twitter and President Donald Trump escalated today...

"Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts", continued Trump.

Zuckerberg's statement comes as several technology companies have issued their own messages of solidarity with the protests and the systemic injustices they are challenging.

While Facebook's 48,000 employees often debate policies and actions within the company, it is unusual for staff to take that criticism public. Trump retaliated by signing an executive order that attempts to strip online platforms of long-held legal protections.

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