Facebook Employees ‘Outraged’ With Mark Zuckerberg For Keeping Trump’s Protest Posts Up

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been put under fire by his own employees this week after claiming that he wouldn’t be taking any enforcement action against a post made by the President of the United States following the murder of George Floyd.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been put under fire by his own employees this week after claiming that he wouldn’t be taking any enforcement action against a post made by the President of the United States following the murder of George Floyd. The post in question is a tweet that was posted on a majority of the President’s official social media accounts, and stated that: “Any difficulty [in regards to the protesting across America] and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

The president obviously referring to the peaceful protests that have been occurring all across America this past week in response to the brutal murder of Minneapolis resident George Floyd. Derek Chauvin is the white police officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while he pleaded with all four officers present at the scene that he couldn’t breathe; Chauvin responded by telling Floyd he “was fine” and should “relax.” 

Facebook staff members were outraged after the post remained up on the platform. Many went public on their personal Twitter accounts to claim that they believed the post had no business being kept up on Facebook and all employees were “greatly concerned and disappointed” in its lack of removal.

“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,” said Facebook design manager, Jason Stirman.

The peaceful protests that have erupted in response to Floyd’s murder across the country have mainly been escalated by an aggressive police presence. As we saw a couple of weeks ago, huge crowds of white protesters were able to occupy these same spaces to protest the pandemic and right to get a haircut, so the double standard of when the police are called to tear gas crowds of black people while they’re protesting for basic human rights is quite jarring. Hence the extreme anger coming from the employees at Facebook. 

The “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” part of Trump’s tweet is what’s sparked the most outrage, as the President is quite literally threatening to instill violence on his own people that he took an oath to protect. The phrase is also famously known from when it was used by the Miami police chief in the 1960’s as a response to the peaceful protests that occurred during the initial civil rights movement; the parallels of these two massive fights for racial equality that are 50 years apart, is just as jarring. 

The backlash to Zuckerberg specifically also stems from the way that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey handled the situation when the president made the post on his platform. Shortly after the tweet was sent the official White House twitter page retweeted it, and the tweet was immediately flagged and hidden due to its “glorification of violence”. When Zuckerberg was asked for a statement, he said the following:

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“I disagree strongly with how the President spoke about this, but I believe people should be able to see this for themselves, because ultimately accountability for those in positions of power can only happen when their speech is scrutinized out in the open.”

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What’s been the most troubling, however, with this statement is that Facebook literally has it written in their rules that any sort of speech that inspires or incites violence is not allowed and will be removed from the platform. So why hasn’t the president’s post threatened to unleash the national guard on a bunch of peaceful protesters not covered under that? 

The post itself has been shared over 70,000 times and reacted to over 250,000 times. On Instagram the post received over half a million likes as well. Higher up Facebook employees have quite literally had enough of Zuckerberg’s compliance with the president and his threatening words against his own citizens. 

Besides Stirman, Jason Toff, the director of product management at Facebook, said he “wasn’t proud of how the company was showing up,” and mentioned that most of his co-workers felt the same.  

“Trump’s glorification of violence on Facebook is disgusting and it should absolutely be flagged or removed,” Brandon Dail, a front-end engineer at Facebook.

“Trump’s message encourages extra-judicial violence and stokes racism. Respect to @Twitter’s integrity team for making the enforcement call,” David Gillis, director of product design at Facebook, said. 

Josiah Gulden, a product designer at Facebook, retweeted Gillis and said he agreed. “I’m gravely concerned that if we’re only willing to enforce our standards based on (presumed) intended meaning, and never on apparent meaning, we’re always giving bad actors room to play the ‘I didn’t mean it that way’ card, A very slippery slope.”

“Facebook leadership is wrong and we [the employees] have voiced [our] concerns internally,” Diego Mendes, a product design manager at Facebook, said.

Zuckerberg has since pledged to donate $10 million to groups across America fighting for racial equality among black individuals specifically. He also mentioned that the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the philanthropic organization he runs with his wife, has been investing up to $40 million every year to these organizations as well. However, his constant ability to stick by the presidents blatant ignorance is what the people want to change the most. 

If you want to know more about the Black Lives Matter movement and how you can directly help from home, click here for access to dozens of petitions, donation pages, and fundraising efforts specifically for those fighting for racial equality right now.