OAKLAND, Calif. – Facebook employees are using Twitter and Facebook's internal communications tools to register their frustration over CEO Mark Zuckerberg's decision to leave up posts by President Donald Trump that suggested protesters in Minneapolis could be shot.
Twitter flagged and demoted Trump's tweet about the protests when he used the phrase “when the looting starts the shooting starts.” Facebook has let it stand, and Zuckerberg explained his reasoning in a Facebook post Friday.
“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,” Zuckerberg wrote.
On Monday, dozens of Facebook employees staged a virtual “walkout” to protest the company's decision not to touch the Trump posts according to a report in the New York Times, which cited anonymous senior employees at Facebook. The Times report says dozens of Facebook workers “took the day off by logging into Facebook's systems and requesting time off to support protesters across the country.”
Though virtual, this was the first time that Facebook workers have staged a walkout in the company's history. Employees at the social media giant have been less outspoken than their counterparts at other tech companies such as Google and Twitter.
“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,” tweeted Jason Toff, a director of product management at Facebook who's been at the company for a year.
“I don't know what to do, but I know doing nothing is not acceptable. 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. There isn't a neutral position on racism,” Facebook design manager Jason Stirman tweeted.
Sara Zhang, a product designer at the company, tweeted that Facebook's “decision to not act on posts that incite violence ignores other options to keep our community safe. The policy pigeon holes us into addressing harmful user-facing content in two ways: keep content up or take it down.”
“I believe that this is a self-imposed constraint and implore leadership to revisit the solution,” she continued.