Zuckerberg, Chan-funded scientists pen 'letter of concern' over Trump, misinformation

More than 140 scientists funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), a philanthropic effort by Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergFacebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Hillicon Valley: Five takeaways on new election interference from Iran, Russia | Schumer says briefing on Iranian election interference didn't convince him effort was meant to hurt Trump | Republicans on Senate panel subpoena Facebook, Twitter CEOs | Republicans on Senate panel subpoena Facebook, Twitter CEOs MORE and his wife Priscilla Chan focused on combating disease, penned a letter to the social media giant Saturday saying they should not be allowing President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump, Jared Kusher's lawyer threatens to sue Lincoln Project over Times Square billboards Facebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' MORE to “spread both misinformation and incendiary statements.”

In the letter, the scientists claim Facebook’s tolerance for false information and incendiary language goes against the CZI’s mission to “build a healthier, just, and more inclusive future.”

The letter comes after dozens of former Facebook employees wrote to Zuckerberg panning him for allowing controversial posts from President Trump to stay up, specifically claiming that posts saying "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" is a "betrayal" of the social media platform's ideals. 


The scientists cited the same comments from the president, calling them “a clear statement of inciting violence,” which they say violates Facebook policies that are not being enforced.

Twitter flagged similar comments from the president on its platform, and have fact checked other posts he's shared.

The actions from Twitter led the president to file an executive order that would remove immunity that social media companies have under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act for content posted on their platforms by third parties.  

The scientists urged Zuckerberg to “consider stricter policies on misinformation and incendiary language that harms people or groups of people, especially in our current climate that is grappling with racial injustice.”

“While they have allowed dissemination of information across the globe, they also facilitate the spread of misinformation,” they said of social media sites.

“The spread of news that is not vetted for factual accuracy leads to confusion and a mistrust of experts.”