Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday told employees that he was standing firm in the company’s decision not to moderate a post in which President Donald Trump said “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Zuckerberg announced this to employees during a virtual all-hands meeting on Tuesday, according to The New York Times. The decision comes despite public criticism from dozens of employees, many of whom argue that the post from Trump violates Facebook’s community standards, which prohibit language that incites serious violence.
Brandon Dail, a Facebook user interface engineer, tweeted on Tuesday in criticism of Facebook’s leaders.
Zuckerberg’s decision not to moderate the post is in contrast to that of rival Twitter, which placed a label warning users about the president’s violent rhetoric, which they have to dismiss before they can view the tweet. Twitter is also preventing users from liking or retweeting the tweet.
Aside from criticism of the decision, at least two Facebook employees posted on social media that they were leaving the company as a result of the refusal to moderate Trump.
“I cannot stand by Facebook’s continued refusal to act on the president’s bigoted messages aimed at radicalizing the American public,” software engineer Timothy Aveni posted on LinkedIn.
Others in the tech industry also criticized the company for its inaction. Data scientist Ayodele Odubela on Tuesday tweeted a screenshot of her response to a Facebook recruiter, saying she refused to work for a company with policies that she fundamentally disagrees with.
“Your CEO refuses to do anything about the hate speech and violence glorified by our ‘president’ on Facebook,” she wrote.
Facebook has also been criticized by at least two of its partners.
After speaking with Zuckerberg and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on Monday, Color of Change President Rashad Robinson tweeted that he was “disappointed and stunned by his incomprehensible explanations for allowing Trump’s incitement of violence against Black people to remain up.” Color of Change is a racial justice organization that has been working with Facebook on a civil rights audit of the social network.
“If regular citizens can get removed from social media sites for inciting violence … we have to have a standard for the most powerful person in the world whose harassments and attacks can lead to the deep levels of violence that we know,” Robinson told CNBC.
Talkspace, a company that provides online therapy, on Monday announced that it was ending a partnership agreement with Facebook after the company’s decision not to moderate Trump’s post.