Story at a glance
- Social media companies have struggled to respond to the rise of misinformation spreading on their platforms.
- Twitter has begun putting labels on tweets by President Trump that violate its policies.
- Facebook, however, has left the president’s posts up without any edit or notice.
What do Facebook employees do when the company won’t listen? Post on Twitter.
The social media giant is facing criticism over its decision not to remove objectionable posts from President Trump, especially after its competitor, Twitter, began labeling tweets with warnings saying they violated the site's policies. Both companies have decided not to remove the president’s recent posts citing public interest.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post that the company decided the President had not violated any of their policies, although one “had a troubling historical reference.”
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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,” he said.
In response, Facebook employees staged a virtual walkout by requesting time off and setting a coordinated statement as their "out of office” messages, according to The New York Times. The Times also reported that two unnamed senior Facebook employees had told their managers they would resign if Zuckerberg did not change his decision, and a recent hire walked away from a job they were supposed to start the next month.
On Twitter, a former employee, who said he had been planning to leave for a while, announced his departure publicly, decrying Zuckerberg’s decision.
I am proud to announce that as of the end of today, I am no longer a Facebook employee.— Owen Anderson (@OwenResistor) June 1, 2020
Other employees spoke out on Twitter.
The React Core team is joining the Facebook employee walkout in solidarity with the Black community.— Dan Abramov (@dan_abramov) June 1, 2020
Facebookʼs recent decision to not act on posts that incite violence ignores other options to keep our community safe. We implore the Facebook leadership to #TakeAction. pic.twitter.com/0i33nNQTLN
@Facebook's decision to not act on posts that incite violence against black people fails to keep our community safe. I'm asking that we revisit this decision and provide more transparency into the process, inclusive of black leadership.— Trevor Phillippi (@trevorphillippi) June 1, 2020
#BlackLivesMatter #TakeAction pic.twitter.com/cvdyNKgawd
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.— Stirman (@stirman) May 30, 2020
Facebook spokeswoman Liz Bourgeois told the New York Times, "We recognize the pain many of our people are feeling right now, especially our Black community. We encourage employees to speak openly when they disagree with leadership. As we face additional difficult decisions around content ahead, we'll continue seeking their honest feedback."
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