Top Facebook executives have launched an extraordinary rebellion against their boss Mark Zuckerberg against his decision to not take down Donald Trump’s ‘shooting’ comments aimed at black protesters in the US. Facebook’s rival Twitter had decided to block that controversial tweet, posted by Trump.
Lauren Tan, who works at Facebook as an engineer, tweeted, “Facebook’s inaction in taking down Trump’s post inciting violence makes me ashamed to work here. I absolutely disagree with it. I enjoy the technical parts of my job and working alongside smart/kind people, but this isn’t right. Silence is complicity.”
Facebook’s inaction in taking down Trump’s post inciting violence makes me ashamed to work here. I absolutely disagree with it. I enjoy the technical parts of my job and working alongside smart/kind people, but this isn’t right. Silence is complicity.
— Lauren Tan ✨😷✨ (@sugarpirate_) May 29, 2020
Lauren, however, added that she had no intention of resigning as she wrote, “Asking my colleagues who have spoken out to quit their jobs isn’t the right take. I would rather have them at the table vs the racists who’d be happy to take their place. Or worse, someone who won’t speak up.”
Ryan Freitas, director of product design for Facebook’s News Feed, wrote, “Mark is wrong, and I will endeavor in the loudest possible way to change his mind. I apologize if you were waiting for me to have some sort of external opinion. I focused on organizing 50+ like-minded folks into something that looks like internal change.”
Andrew Crow, head of design for Facebook’s Portal product line, wrote, “Giving a platform to incite violence and spread disinformation is unacceptable, regardless who you are or if it’s newsworthy.”
In a long Facebook post, Zuckerberg had explained why he decided against blocking Trump’s Facebook post calling for shooting down protesters, who are protesting against the murder of a black man, George Floyd, by a white policeman. He wrote, “I’ve been struggling with how to respond to the President’s tweets and posts all day. Personally, I have a visceral negative reaction to this kind of divisive and inflammatory rhetoric. This moment calls for unity and calmness, and we need empathy for the people and communities who are hurting. We need to come together as a country to pursue justice and break this cycle.”
What did not go down well with some Facebook executives was Zuckerberg’s phone conversation with Trump on Friday. Many believe that he ought to have firmly reminded Trump about his inflammatory social media post during the phone conversation.
It’s rare for Facebook employees to speak so openly against their own leadership. It remains to be seen if the social media giant will initiate any disciplinary action against them.
Last week, US President Donald Trump threatened to repeal Section 230, which provides protection to social media companies in America after Twitter blocked one of his tweets for a rule violation. This was the second time in three days that the microblogging site inflicted public insults on Trump.