July 11, 2020

Zuckerberg Defends Approach to Trump’s Facebook Posts

“I used that opportunity to make him know I felt this post was inflammatory and harmful, and let him know where we stood on it,” Mr. Zuckerberg told Facebook employees. But though he voiced displeasure to the president, he reiterated that Mr. Trump’s message did not break the social network’s guidelines.

The Facebook chief held firm even as the pressure on him to rein in Mr. Trump’s messages intensified. Civil rights groups said late Monday after meeting with Mr. Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, that it was “totally confounding” that the company was not taking a tougher stand on Mr. Trump’s posts, which are often aggressive and have heightened tensions over protests on police violence in recent days.

Several Facebook employees have resigned over the lack of action, with one publicly saying the company would end up “on the wrong side of history.” And protesters showed up late Monday to Mr. Zuckerberg’s residential neighborhood in Palo Alto, Calif., and also headed toward the social network’s headquarters in nearby Menlo Park.

The internal dissent began brewing last week after Facebook’s rival, Twitter, added labels to Mr. Trump’s tweets that indicated the president was glorifying violence and making inaccurate statements. The same messages that Mr. Trump posted to Twitter also appeared on Facebook. But unlike Twitter, Facebook did not touch the president’s posts, including one in which Mr. Trump said of the protests in Minneapolis: “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

That decision led to internal criticism, with Facebook employees arguing it was untenable to leave up Mr. Trump’s messages that incited violence. They said Mr. Zuckerberg was kowtowing to Republicans out of fear of Facebook being regulated or broken up.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/02/technology/zuckerberg-defends-facebook-trump-posts.html

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