Mark Zuckerberg is facing a backlash from within Facebook after several senior employees publicly criticized the chief executive for refusing to take action over posts by President Donald Trump that Twitter censured last week for “glorifying violence.”
As protests and rioting over the death in police custody of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, spread through several American cities this weekend, Mr. Zuckerberg was forced to defend Facebooks position as—in his words—“an institution committed to free expression.”
On Friday, Mr. Trump posted on both Facebook and Twitter that he would respond to violent protests with military force, saying: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” But while Twitter slapped a warning on the post and hid it from view, Facebook left the message intact.
Over the weekend, Facebook employees contrasted their companys stance unfavorably with Twitters, which last week also labelled two of Mr. Trumps other tweets as potentially misleading.
Ryan Freitas, who leads Facebooks News Feed design team, said in a tweet: “Mark is wrong, and I will endeavor in the loudest possible way to change his mind.”
Jason Toff, who joined Facebook as a director of product management a year ago, pointed to a broader upsurge of employee activism inside the company. “I work at Facebook and I am not proud of how were showing up,” he posted on Twitter. “The majority of co-workers Ive spoken to feel the same way. We are making our voice heard.”
The protest inside the worlds largest social media platform forced Mr. Zuckerberg to post two messages within three days—one to explain his decision and another which offered a $10 million donation to groups working on racial justice.
Tech staffers have proven a potent force for change in Silicon Valley in recent years, as companies including Google, Microsoft and Amazon have been targeted by their own employees over issues including workplace conditions, climate change and military contracts.
Executives and companies across the tech industry, including Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Netflix, as well as Salesforce, Slack, Uber and Twitter, expressed their support for antiracism and criminal justice campaigns, through messages to employees, on their homepages or through official social media accounts.
“To be silent is to be complicit. Black lives matter,” said Netflix, while Amazon said: “The inequitable and brutal treatment of Black people in our country must stop.”
On Friday night, Mr. Zuckerberg wrote on his own Facebook profile that he had been “struggling with how to respond” to Mr. Trumps posts.
“I know many people are upset that weve left the Presidents posts up, but our position is that we should enable as much expression as possible unless it will cause imminent risk of specific harms or dangers spelled out in clear policies,” he said. “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.”
However, after the Axios news website reported that Mr. Zuckerberg had had a “productive” phone call with Mr. Trump on Friday, several employees took to Twitter over the weekend in protest at their chief executives position.
Lauren Tan, who left Netflix to join Facebook as a software engineer earlier this year, said in a tweet: “Facebooks inaction in takiRead More – Source