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Facebook employees unhappy Zuckerberg took no action on Trump post

Mark Zuckerberg is facing a backlash from his employees for what they say is a lack of action against inflammatory comments on the social networking website.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump posted the same message on Twitter and Mr Zuckerberg’s Facebook, saying “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”.

His posts were in response to protests across America following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.

Donald Trump tweet
Image:Donald Trump’s tweet prompted action from Twitter but not Facebook

Twitter placed a warning on the tweet saying it had violated the website’s rules against glorifying violence but that it was being left up as a public service exception.

Facebook took no action against the post on its website.Advertisement

News agency Reuters reported at least seven social media posts by Facebook workers criticising the lack of action against the post, three of them identified as senior managers.

Ryan Freitas, whose Twitter account identifies him as director of product design for Facebook’s News Feed, said: “Mark is wrong, and I will endeavour in the loudest possible way to change his mind.”

He added he had mobilised more than 50 “like-minded folks” to push for change at the tech company.

Jason Toff, identified as director of product management, 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.”

David Gillis, identified as a director of product design, praised Twitter’s response, saying: “I think it would have been right for us to make a ‘spirit of the policy’ exception that took more context into account.”

Andrew Crow, head of design for the Portal product, said: “Giving a platform to incite violence and spread disinformation is unacceptable, regardless who you are or if it’s newsworthy.

“I disagree with Mark’s position and will work to make change happen.”

Facebook did not comment but on Friday Mr Zuckerberg had tried to explain the lack of action, saying that, while he found the remarks “deeply offensive”, they did not violate Facebook’s policies.

He also said people should know if the government was planning to deploy force and that his company had explained its policies to the White House.

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