Facebook Employees Criticize Zuckerberg’s Inaction Over Trump

Cheryl Sanders
June 1, 2020

Zuckerberg called Trump on Friday and expressed his concerns about the president's "tone and rhetoric", according to Axios. Viewers had to click on the message to see the underlying tweet.

Why it matters: After so long working for him, Trump's inner circle usually shrugs at his tweets.

To make matters worse, USA media revealed Sunday that Zuckerberg and Trump spoke by telephone on Friday.

While Twitter hid the tweet from immediate view, the post was fully visible on Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram.

Zuckerberg Told Trump of Concerns About Rhetoric Over Protests

Many tech workers at companies including Facebook, Google and Amazon have become active on social justice issues in recent years and urged their employers take action and change policies.

Lauren Tan, who left Netflix to join Facebook as a software engineer earlier this year, said in a tweet: "Facebook's inaction in taking down Trump's post inciting violence makes me ashamed to work here".

On Sunday, Google and YouTube put a black ribbon on its home page in the USA, showing solidarity for protests against the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in police custody.

"Respect to @Twitter's integrity team for making the enforcement call", wrote David Gillis, identified as a director of product design. "While I understand why we chose to remain within the four corners of our policy of violence and incitement, I think it would have been correct for us to make an exception to the "spirit of politics" that was more context-sensitive", he wrote. Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post on Monday that the company would contribute an additional $10 million to social justice causes.

Zuckerberg "expressed concerns about the tone and the rhetoric" of some of Trump's posts during the phone call, a source familiar with the call told Axios, with another source saying that he said the president was putting Facebook in a hard situation.

"I disagree strongly with how the President spoke about this, but I believe people should be able to see this for themselves, because ultimately accountability for those in positions of power can only happen when their speech is scrutinized out in the open", he concluded.

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

The president said he would "send in the National Guard", and warned that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts".

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.

In response, President Trump signed an executive order against online censorship across social media, writing "When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a risky power". On Friday, Zuckerberg defended the decision to take no action against the post, writing that "people need to know if the government is planning to deploy force".

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