Civil rights groups blast Facebook’s inaction on Trump posts after meeting

Greg Nash

A group of civil rights organizations criticized Facebook on Monday for its inaction on posts from President Trump about police brutality in Minnesota. 

Several leaders of the organizations held a call with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg about the post where Trump said “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” in response to protests against the death of George Floyd.

Vanita Gupta, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, said they were “disappointed and stunned by Mark’s incomprehensible explanations for allowing the Trump posts to remain up.”

“He did not demonstrate understanding of historic or modern-day voter suppression and he refuses to acknowledge how Facebook is facilitating Trump’s call for violence against protesters,” they continued.

“Mark is setting a very dangerous precedent for other voices who would say similar harmful things on Facebook,” they said. 

Zuckerberg and Facebook have been under intense criticism since keeping up the post about the protesters demonstrating against the death of Floyd, an unarmed black man who died last week while in Minneapolis police custody.

Video of the incident that surfaced last week showed a police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, while Floyd pleaded for air. 

The former officer, Derek Chauvin, was charged Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Earlier in the week, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo fired Chauvin and three other officers who were on the scene.

While Twitter placed a warning on a similar tweet from Trump claiming that it glorified violence, Facebook left it untouched. The post has received more than 254,000 reactions and 71,000 shares.


When asked about the criticism from the civil rights leaders, a spokesperson said the company is “grateful” that they “took the time to share candid, honest feedback with Mark and Sheryl.”

“It is an important moment to listen, and we look forward to continuing these conversations,” the person said.

Opposition to the decision to keep Trump’s post up has also bubbled up internally at Facebook.

Several employees publicly criticized Zuckerberg’s stance over the weekend, while others staged a virtual workout on Monday.

Tags Donald Trump Facebook George Floyd Mark Zuckerberg police brutality Protests Sheryl Sandberg Social media Twitter
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