Wednesday, 08 July, 2020


Facebook workers rebel over Mark Zuckerberg's refusal to act against Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office before signing an executive order related to regulating social media Donald Trump's post: Facebook employees slam lack of action
Melba Vasquez | 01 June, 2020, 21:51

Toff is referring to Facebook's decision not to take action against some of Trump's recent posts.

"Mark is wrong, and I will endeavor in the loudest possible way to change his mind", wrote Ryan Freitas, whose Twitter account identifies him as director of product design for Facebook's News Feed. "I focused on organizing 50+ likeminded folks into something that looks like internal change". Others who spoke out included the design manager Jason Stirman, director of product management Jason Toff and product designer Sara Zhang. The majority of coworkers I " ve spoken to feel the same way.

Facebook employees have spoken out against Mark Zuckerberg after he refused to remove an insensitive and potentially unsafe social media post by President Trump. But while Twitter slapped a warning on the post and hid it from view, Facebook left the message intact.

Zuckerberg said that unlike Twitter, "we do not have a policy of putting a warning in front of posts that may incite violence because we believe that if a post incites violence, it should be removed regardless of whether it is newsworthy, even if it comes from a politician".

David Gillis, a product design executive at Facebook, praised Twitter for removing the "looting shots" tweet. "We are making our voice heard".

Mr Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post early on Monday that the company would contribute an additional US$10 million (S$14 million) to social justice causes.

Trump's offensive came on the back of fact checks by Twitter which took the form of a hyperlink that tagged onto exactly two of Trump's tweets and said "Get the facts about mail-in ballots".

"These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won't let that happen", he said. He is now threatening lawsuits by the Federal Trade Commission against social media companies deemed to be abusing their protections (as platforms for speech, rather than speakers per se) under Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act.

The social media giant's already trading new its 52-week high and while it hasn't seen a large selloff in as a result of Trump's actions yet, it may only be a matter of time.

Twitter and Facebook both have in place systems to combat disinformation and unsafe content - appeals to hatred, harassment, incitement to violence and the like.

The backroom lobbying campaign was effective, as Trump later clarified his "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" comment. He felt the statement warned protestors that police would shoot them, as opposed to Trump encouraging police to shoot at protestors.

Zuckerberg has said on more than one occasion that he doesn't want Facebook to be the "arbiter of truth", though Facebook announced a year ago that it would take action on some campaign posts encouraging voter suppression and spreading voter misinformation, which are the areas the Twitter fact-check concerned. He did not reference Trump's posts or the administration's long-standing ire with social media platforms.

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