Nearly three dozen of employees wrote an open letter calling out Facebook CEO’s inaction on President Trump’s posts that incite violence.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is now facing criticisms from nearly three dozen of his former employees. They are calling him out for his stand not to take down the inflammatory messages posted by Trump on Facebook.
In an open letter, the former employees of the said social network back in its early years said that Zuckerberg’s decision was a betrayal of the ideals of Facebook. In addition, they encouraged the executive to reconsider his decision. The said former employees consist of Facebook’s first communications chief, engineers, designers, and policy executives. Some of them helped write the original community guidelines of the platform before, which covers what can and what cannot be posted on Facebook. Here’s the latest On Trump and Zuckerberg.
Facebook Took No Action On Trump’s Aggressive Posts
Zuckerberg has been criticized ever since another social media platform Twitter took a step and added fact-check and warning labels on Trump’s posts. According to Twitter, the US president’s posts displays misinformation and glorify violence. Similarly, Snap, the creator of the Snapchat app, publicized that it will no longer promote Trump’s Snapchat account after finding out that the president’s remarks outside its app could incite violence.
Facebook did not take any action on the posts where Trump made inaccurate claims about the mail-in ballots that would be used for the election on November 3. Similarly, the platform also had no action against the president’s aggressive remarks on protesters after the death of a black man named George Floyd– an African-American who a white Minneapolis policeman killed.
Since then, the Facebook CEO has faced strong pushback from his employees due to his inaction. The disapproval circulated across the company’s internal message boards. In addition, some employees threatened that they would resign as a protest if Zuckerberg does not take action against the posts in question. Furthermore, many employees joined a virtual walkout supporting the black community inside and outside Facebook. However, Zuckerberg defended his decision and said that Trump’s posts did not do any violations against the policies of Facebook. He also added that the platform supports as much expression as possible.
Former Employees of Facebook Wrote An Open Letter to their Former Executive
In the letter, the former employees of Facebook said that the company must reconsider its policies around free speech. They added that Facebook must do fact-checking on politicians and explicitly label posts that incite harm.
In addition, they emphasized that they authored the original community standards of Facebook. They were also the ones who contributed code to the products that served as the voice of people and other public figures. Moreover, the former employees noted that they helped create a company culture built around freedom of expression and connection.
They also wrote that they grew up on Facebook; however, Facebook is no longer theirs. This is because, according to them, Facebook once joined designed products intended to empower people and written policies to protect them. According to them, Facebook’s goal back then was to allow as much freedom of expression as possible unless it would explicitly do danger and harm. And while the employees often disagreed on creating these policies, they all understood that the right thing to do was keep people safe on the platform. Unfortunately, it seems as if that commitment has changed.
Facebook Employees Buy Facebook Likes to Be More Positive?
The former employees also added in the open letter that while they no longer work for Facebook, they still do not disclaim the company. Still, they also do not recognize it anymore. According to them, they remain proud of the platform that they built and grateful for the opportunity they were able to get. In addition, these former employees are hopeful that what they built can become a positive force. Still, they noted that these do not mean that they have to remain quiet. In fact, it is their responsibility to speak up. Wonder if employees buy Facebook likes on posts to help foster a positive mentality and perspective?
These days, the leadership of Facebook interprets that freedom of expression equates to doing nothing against political discourse. And according to its early employees, the company seems to have decided that a lower standard must govern elected officials– a decision that exposes two significant problems.
First, Facebook’s behavior does not match their goal to avoid any political censorship. As Zuckerberg pointed out, Facebook is already acting as the arbiter of truth. It monitors speech when it integrates warning links to posts, downranks posts to reduce its spread, and fact checks posts made by non-politicians.
According to its former employees, what Facebook is doing now is clearly a betrayal of its claims. The company that they once helped in building values gives people a voice that is as loud as the government’s and protects the powerless instead of the powerful. Unfortunately, Facebook no longer upholds that value. It claims that it is inappropriate to provide warnings on posts about politicians’ speech. However, it seems that removing a public citizen’s post is acceptable. It is as if the platform holds politicians to a higher standard compared to public citizens.
Second, ever since the inception of Facebook, researchers have learned a lot more about the dynamics of mass persuasion and group psychology. The former employees also added that they understood that words have the power to increase the occurrence of violence. In addition, they noted that they are aware that the speech of those who are powerful matters the most. The words of those who have powers can establish norms and even incite violence. And according to them, these are made worse by algorithmic implications.
In the end, the former employees wrote in the open letter their message to Zuckerberg. They said that they are aware that their former executive is thinking deeply about the issues. However, he has to regain the trust of the people. They also said Facebook has never been neutral. Furthermore, these former Facebook employees emphasized that fact-checking does not equate to censorship, and labeling a post due to its violent content is not equivalent to authoritarianism. They also encouraged Zuckerberg to reconsider his position.