Twitter began labeling Trump’s inflammatory posts with fact-checking links. On the other hand, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg publicized that his company should leave the president’s posts alone.
In Oakland, California, hundreds of employees who work on Facebook, protested their executives’ decision to do nothing about US President Donald Trump’s inflammatory posts against their own company.
According to many of the employees, their decision to take a day off is their way of showing their support for demonstrators across the country. They even added an automated message that is displayed on their email responses and digital profiles. In the automated message, they informed the people that they were taking a day off from the office in a show of protest. Get a wave of overflowing Facebook likes and followers in an instant.
The Virtual Protester Was Only One of the Many Protesters From Facebook’s Workforce
The group who did the protest conducted a virtual “walkout” since most of them are working remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic. They are only one among the number of clusters of employees who were urging Facebook executives to take a tougher stand against the US president and his inflammatory posts.
Inside the company’s offices, employees have threatened to resign and circulated petitions. Similarly, many employees publicly showed their disappointment on Twitter and other online platforms. In addition, many of the current and former employees of Facebook said that the protests are the most serious challenge that Mark Zuckerberg has faced ever since the company was founded 15 years ago.
One employee wrote in an internal message board that Trump’s hateful rhetoric that advocates violence against black demonstrators cannot be defended under the shadow of freedom of expression.
On the other hand, another employee, along with other black employees of the company, called for Zuckerberg to take down the president’s post that promotes violence, murder, and the threat against black people.
Zuckerberg’s Decision to Leave Trump’s Post Alone Was Tested By Twitter
On a number of occasions, the Facebook CEO has always been firm in his decision that Facebook must not do anything against what people post. This applies even to the lies posted by government officials and anyone in power. Zuckerberg added that the people must be allowed to decide on what they would believe in.
However, his decision was tested after Twitter added a fact check link and warning label on two tweets posted by Trump. According to Twitter, the two labeled posts broke the rules of Twitter around the glorification of violence as well as voter suppression.
But contrary to Twitter, who took a step to spread awareness about misleading information posted by Trump, Facebook decided to leave the president’s post on the platform alone. According to Zuckerberg, Trump’s posts did not violate any of the rules implemented on the platform.
Furthermore, Zuckerberg noted in a Facebook post that he personally has a negative reaction to divisive and inflammatory rhetorics such as the ones posted by Trump, However, he also emphasized that he is responsible for reacting not just based on his personal capacity but as a leader of an institution that promotes free speech.
Employees Voiced Out Their Opposition Against Zuckerberg’s Decision
Zuckerberg had the chance to speak shortly with Trump on a telephone call on Friday, May 7. According to Axios, the phone call was productive. However, it was not clear what they talked about. On the same day, Zuckerberg held a live stream question and answer session where he explained his position to his employees.
In the said video session, Facebook employees expressed how much they oppose the decision by commenting alongside the session. Some employees also questioned whether Zuckerberg involved any black people in making his decision.
The Backbone of Facebook To Some or to None
Moreover, one employee said that the weak leadership and lack of backbone showed by Zuckerberg will be judged by history. He also added that hate speech does not equate to free speech and that the president is literally threatening the lives of the citizens by telling the National Guards to shoot them. He concluded that maybe the US is in the middle of the war of races that the policy will change.
However, Zuckerberg said that the posts in question were different from the ones that threaten violence. This is because Trump’s posts were about using the state force, something that is currently allowed.
While many employees oppose Facebook CEO’s decision, some still stood with him. Moreover, an internal poll was conducted during the video session. This poll showed that over 1,000 employees of Facebook voted against their executive’s decision. Only nineteen of the poll respondents said that they agreed with Zuckerberg’s decision.
Facebook Likes Don’t Like These Posts
As a response to the virtual walkout conducted by his employees, Zuckerberg moved his weekly meeting with his employees from Thursday to Tuesday. The said meeting will serve as the way for Facebook employees to directly question Zuckerberg.
Liz Bourgeois, the spokesperson for Facebook noted that the company recognizes the pain that a lot of people, especially the black community, are feeling right now. She also said they are encouraging their employees to speak out in times that they agree with leadership.
Many people who work for Facebook were frustrated about Zuckerberg’s post last week where he explained his decision of not taking down Trump’s posts. A number of employees. Including Andrew Crow expressed their disagreement against the CEO’s decision in a tweet. Notably, Crow is the head of the design of the portal product of Facebook.
Similarly, Facebook engineer Lauren Tan said in a tweet that the platform’s inaction in taking down the US president’s post that promotes violence makes her feel ashamed to work for the company. She also added in the tweet that silence is complicity.
Two senior employees of Facebook told The New York Times that they have informed their managers that they would file a resignation if Zuckerberg will not change his decision. Another person who was supposed to begin working on Facebook next month told the company that they will no longer accept a position due to Zuckerberg’s decision.