Mark Zuckerberg defends decision on Trump posts to Facebook employees

03 Juin, 2020, 08:16 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Protestors hold up signs with Facebook's angry face reaction on them

Civil rights leaders condemned Facebook's inaction on a recent series of controversial posts from President Donald Trump following a conversationMonday between their groups and top Facebook execs, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg.

While Twitter demoted and placed a warning on a tweet about the protests that read, in part, that when the looting starts the shooting starts, Facebook has let it stand, with Zuckerberg laying out his reasoning in a Facebook post Friday.

In leaked audio obtained by Recode, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told his employees Tuesday that Trump's incitement to violence - hosted by, and spread via Facebook - could remain on the site because it only encouraged "excessive policing".

I don't know what to do, but I know doing nothing is not acceptable. "Knowing that when we made this decision we made, it was going to lead to a lot of people upset inside the company, and the media criticism we were going to get".

Leaders of three United States civil rights groups said on Tuesday they were "disappointed and stunned" over Facebook's refusal to moderate President Donald Trump's controversial posts.

Twitter's first warning for Trump last week said his claims on a post about mail-in ballots were false and had been debunked by fact-checkers.

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"We're grateful that leaders in the civil rights community took the time to share candid, honest feedback with Mark and Sheryl".

The remarks came as Facebook employees held an online walkout on Monday to protest Trump's "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" post, which they said runs counter to the company's policies stipulating that Facebook will "remove language that incites or facilitates serious violence". "Mark is setting a very risky precedent for other voices who would say similar harmful things on Facebook". In a long Twitter thread he said he understood the logic of Facebook's decision, but: "I think it would have been right for us to make a "spirit of the policy" exception that took more context into account".

A Facebook ad by Donald Trump's re-election campaign running amid widespread civil unrest.

In a public post on LinkedIn, software engineer Timothy Aveni said he is on the lookout for a new job thanks to "Facebook's continued refusal to act on the president's bigoted messages aimed at radicalizing the American public".

Jason Toff, identified as director of product management, wrote: "I work at Facebook and I am not proud of how we're showing up. I'm scared for my country and I'm done trying to justify this".

Facebook has been central to Trump's political rise. While Trump himself prefers to use Twitter to fire off his thoughts, his brand of divisive, xenophobic and emotive rhetoric has proved extraordinarily successful on Facebook's algorithmic timelines. "Facebook will keep moving the goalposts every time Trump escalates, finding excuse after excuse not to act", he wrote in a Facebook post. "I think there's a good argument that there should be more bounds around the discussion around that".

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