Dozens of ex-Facebook employees criticize Zuckerberg over stance on Trump posts
Dozens of former Facebook employees sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday criticizing him over a decision to leave controversial posts by President Trump untouched.
The 34 employees said in the letter published in The New York Times that leaving the posts in which Trump said “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” is a “betrayal” of the social media platform’s ideals.
The post was in reference to protests in Minnesota sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
“[Facebook] claims that providing warnings about a politician’s speech is inappropriate, but removing content from citizens is acceptable, even if both are saying the same thing,” they wrote.
“That is not a noble stand for freedom. It is incoherent, and worse, it is cowardly. Facebook should be holding politicians to a higher standard than their constituents,” they added.
Zuckerberg and Facebook’s leadership have been under intense criticism since making the decision to leave the post up, including from inside the company.
Several current employees have spoken up about the posts, and on Monday, several held a digital protest.
Zuckerberg has defended the decision, saying that Facebook is not an “arbiter of truth.” Current and former employees disagree.
“Facebook isn’t neutral, and it never has been,” the former engineers wrote Wednesday. “Making the world more open and connected, strengthening communities, giving everyone a voice — these are not neutral ideas.”
While Facebook has left posts by Trump untouched, other platforms have taken action.
Twitter placed an interstitial warning about glorifying violence on the post about shooting looters, while Snap Inc. has stopped promoting the president’s content on its picture chatting application.
Facebook has come under criticism before for not fact-checking political figures on the platform, especially in advertisements.
“Today, Facebook’s leadership interprets freedom of expression to mean that they should do nothing — or very nearly nothing — to interfere in political discourse,” the former employees wrote.
“They have decided that elected officials should be held to a lower standard than those they govern. One set of rules for you, and another for any politician, from your local mayor to the President of the United States,” they added.
Spokespeople for Facebook declined to comment on the letter.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.