Facebook Employees Push Back Over Mark Zuckerberg’s Non-Stance on Trump

Some higher-ups have raised questions over a post that was flagged by Twitter

Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg from February 2020
Tobias Hase/picture alliance via Getty Images
By Kirk Miller / June 1, 2020 2:00 pm

Twitter took a stand against a Donald Trump tweet that hinted at violence against protestors late last week, hiding the president’s post behind a warning.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, however, took a different, decidedly hands-off approach. “I disagree strongly with how the president spoke about this, but I believe people should be able to see this for themselves,” he wrote on Facebook. “Ultimately accountability for those in positions of power can only happen when their speech is scrutinized out in the open.” He also suggested Trump’s post could have been a warning about state action and not an implicit threat.

But some people at Facebook, including several executives, have now come out against their boss. As The Guardian notes, dissenters included Portal head of design Andrew Crow, Jason Stirman from the R&D team and Ryan Freitas, the director of product design for Facebook’s News Feed. (Update: Some Facebook employees staged a virtual walkout on Monday; since most are working at home due to the pandemic, they added a message to their digital profiles and email responses noting they were not working today as a form of protest.)

“Giving a platform to incite violence and spread disinformation is unacceptable, regardless who you are or if it’s newsworthy,” wrote Crow. “I disagree with Mark’s position and will work to make change happen.”

This dissent is unlikely to cause much policy change: Zuckerberg controls 57.9% of voting rights on Facebook’s board, effectively making his wishes the company’s directive. However, by Monday, the CEO did commit an additional $10 million to groups working on “racial justice” issues.

The pain of the last week reminds us how far our country has to go to give every person the freedom to live with dignity…

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Sunday, May 31, 2020

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