Zuckerberg, in a post Friday on Facebook, said while Trump’s message included a “troubling historical reference” — specifically, the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” — and while Zuckerberg personally disagreed with the president’s inflammatory rhetoric, Facebook decided to not remove it to “enable as much expression as possible.”
Over the weekend, Facebook staffers took to Twitter to voice disagreement with Zuckerberg, with some lauding Twitter’s decision to add a warning label in front of Trump’s tweet because it broke Twitter rules against glorifying violence.
“There isn’t a neutral position on racism,” Facebook design manager Jason Stirman said on Twitter. “I’m a FB employee that completely disagrees with Mark’s decision to do nothing about Trump’s recent posts, which clearly incite violence. I’m not alone inside of FB.”
“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, wrote in a tweet. He said he “focused on organizing 50+ like-minded folks into something that looks like internal change.”
Trump’s “looting-shooting” comment “encourages extra-judicial violence and stokes racism. Respect to @Twitter’s integrity team for making the enforcement call,” tweeted David Gillis, a Facebook director of product design. He added that “when we have to vigorously debate whether to make an exception to the way we interpret and enforce a given policy (as happened on Friday), this often indicates that said policy needs to evolve. I think that is the case here.”
And Jason Toff, a Facebook product management director, wrote: “I work at Facebook and I am not proud of how we’re showing up. The majority of coworkers I’ve spoken to feel the same way. We are making our voice heard.”
“Disappointed that, again, I need to call this out: Trump’s glorification of violence on Facebook is disgusting and it should absolutely be flagged or removed from our platforms,” Brandon Dail, a user-interface engineer at Facebook, said. “I categorically disagree with any policy that does otherwise.”
Facebook representatives did not respond to requests for comment about employees speaking out against Zuckerberg.
Meanwhile, on Friday, Trump called Zuckerberg, during which the Facebook chief “expressed concerns about the tone and the rhetoric” of the president’s “looting and shooting” remark, Axios reported. Citing anonymous sources, the Axios report said that Zuckerberg, while he “didn’t make any specific requests,” told Trump he was “putting Facebook in a difficult position.”
Amid the nationwide protests and civil unrest over Floyd’s murder and police brutality, Instagram said in a post early Monday that its parent company is committing $10 million toward “ending racial injustice.” Facebook joins a chorus of other companies supporting the Black Lives Matter cause.
“Time and time again, we have seen that the Instagram community has the power to bring about meaningful change,” the Instagram post said. “The more we #ShareBlackStories, the more we raise voices that make a lasting impact. To continue that impact, @facebook is pledging $10 million to efforts committed to ending racial injustice. #BlackLivesMatter.”