Monday 1 June 2020 1:03 pm

Facebook employees stage rebellion over Mark Zuckerberg's inaction on Trump

Facebook staff have taken to social media to express their dissatisfaction with Mark Zuckerberg over his refusal to act against Donald Trump.

Employees at all levels of the company, including some senior executives, took to criticising Zuckerberg for his decision to leave up the Facebook version of a tweet sent by Trump. The president appeared to encourage police to shoot rioters.

Twitter hid the tweet, which said “When looting starts, shooting starts”, behind a warning which said it “glorified violence”. It came after protests in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police.

Andrew Crow, head of design at Facebook’s video calling app Portal, tweeted: “I disagree with Mark’s position and will work to make change happen.”

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A member of the company’s R&D team, Jason Stirman, said: “I don’t know what to do, but I know doing nothing is not acceptable. I’m a FB employee that completely disagrees with Mark’s decision to do nothing about Trump’s recent posts, which clearly incite violence. I’m not alone inside of FB. There isn’t a neutral position on racism.”

Zuckerberg took to Facebook on Friday to say he had a “visceral negative reaction” to Trump’s “divisive and inflammatory” rhetoric. However, as the “leader of an institution committed to free expression,” he explained that the post had not violated Facebook’s rules.

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“Although the post had a troubling historical reference, we decided to leave it up because the National Guard references meant we read it as a warning about state action, and we think people need to know if the government is planning to deploy force,” Zuckerberg said in his post.

“The President later posted again, saying that the original post was warning about the possibility that looting could lead to violence. We decided that this post, which explicitly discouraged violence, also does not violate our policies and is important for people to see.”

Trump held a call with Zuckerberg on Friday, the same day the president signed an executive order cracking down on “censorship” by social media sites, according to CNBC.

The Facebook founder had said the day before he doesn’t think social networks should be “arbiters of truth”, arguing that people “should be able to see what politicians say”.