Social Media

Zuckerberg defends his decision to not remove Trump’s posts in a company-wide meeting

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on June 03, 2020 Published on June 03, 2020

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg   -  PTI

Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday defended his decision to not remove a controversial Facebook post by the United States President Donald Trump.

Zuckerberg in a 90-minute video call with his employees had said that he will not change his mind about not removing the post, Bloomberg reported.

Many employees have previously publicly voiced dismay against Facebook’s inaction related to Trump’s post which according to them, “glorified violence.”

The post in question was related to protests in Minneapolis against the death of a black man, George Floyd who died in police custody after a policeman knelt on his neck.

Trump’s stance on the protests

Trump on May 29 posted the following post on Facebook: “I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right. These THUGS are dishonouring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”

Zuckerberg told workers that the company could not justify the removal of the post as per company policy by saying that the message clearly incited violence. It means that it didn't break Facebook's rules, the report said.

According to The Verge, Zuckerberg also described being upset by Trump’s recent posts but added that he could not act on it from a personal level. The Facebook CEO last week in a Facebook post had clarified his stance on the matter stating the same.

“Personally, I have a visceral negative reaction to this kind of divisive and inflammatory rhetoric,” Zuckerberg had said.

“But I'm responsible for reacting not just in my personal capacity but as the leader of an institution committed to free expression. I know many people are upset that we've left the President's posts up, but our position is that we should enable as much expression as possible unless it will cause imminent risk of specific harms or dangers spelled out in clear policies,” he added.

Twitter had earlier hidden Trump’s tweet which had a similar tone and ended with the comment, “when the looting starts…” Facebook, however, decided to not remove the post.

Employees reactions

This had led to widespread dismay and dissatisfaction in Facebook’s actions among employees. Hundreds of Facebook employees on Monday protested against the company’s decision staging a virtual walkout according to the New York Times.

In public criticism of the company, employees refused to work and added an automated message to their digital profiles and email responses as many are working from home in light of Covid-19. The employees had also circulated petitions within the company and some have threatened to resign.

Published on June 03, 2020
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