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Zuckerberg didn't like Trump's shooting comment but would not delete it on FB, employees hold virtual walkout

After a lot of internal resistance, Facebook employees held a virtual walkout to protest CEO Zuckerberg's stance on US President Trump's post.

twitter-logoYasmin Ahmed | June 2, 2020 | Updated 16:04 IST
(Source: Reuters)

Highlights

  • Mark Zuckerberg in a meeting with his employees reiterated that he felt disgust at Trumpís Facebook post.
  • The post still stands on the platform as Zuckerberg said it does not violate any Facebook policy.
  • Hundreds of employees staged a virtual walkout to protest the inaction taken by Facebook on Trumpís remark.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a meeting with his employees expressed disgust over the US President's comment on the recent happenings in Minneapolis. In an audio obtained by The Verge, Zuckerberg said, "How to handle this post from the president has been very tough."

He was joined by his head of policy management, Monica Bickert.

The report quoted Zuckerberg as saying, "It's been something that I've been struggling with basically all day, ever since I woke up...This has been personally pretty wrenching for me."

"This is a moment that calls for unity and calmness and empathy for people who are struggling."

However, Zuckerberg along with Bickert said that the comment did not violate any Facebook policies. He further said that Facebook will reconsider its policies and if they want their policy "around the discussion of state use of force."

Zuckerberg, in reference to Twitter's decision to screen Trump's post behind a warning said, "If you really believe that a post is going to cause people to go do real-world violence, then that's not the type of thing that I think we should have up even behind a warning." He further said that people might be comforted that Twitter took a step. "But I don't personally agree with that step."

Facebook's senior employees were not satisfied with Zuckerberg's stance of letting the post stand and so they voiced out their dissent taking to Twitter.

On late Monday evening, hundreds of Facebook employees participated in a virtual walkout to protest Zuckerberg's stance to Trump's comment. A report by NYT stated that the employees participating in the protest requested time off and then added an out-of-office response to their emails informing senders that they were protesting.

It is very rare that Facebook's employees show a collective emotion of dissent.

Among the employees who staged the virtual walkout, were all seven engineers on the team maintaining the React code library which supports Facebook's apps, Reuters stated.

"Facebook's 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," they said in a joint statement published on Twitter.

Facebook has reportedly acknowledged their walkout and told the employees it will not require employees to use their paid time off. Facebook Inc will allow employees participating in the protest to take the time off without drawing down their vacation days, spokesman Andy Stone said.

Trump, in his social media posts, wrote "When the looting starts, the shooting starts." This post came in the backdrop of the death of George Floyd, a 42-year-old unarmed black American on May 25 and the protests that followed.

Many shops have been looted in the US in the name of protests.

While Twitter has flagged Trump's posts for inciting violence, Facebook has not taken any action against it.

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