Hundreds of employees at Facebook on Monday staged a virtual protest over Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to not act against United States President Donald Trump’s inflammatory posts on the social media platform, The New York Times reported.
The protest came after microblogging site Twitter took action against Trump, adding fact-check and warning labels to a tweet on voter suppression. The American president had also called for violent measures against those demonstrating against the death of an unarmed black man in police custody.
The US is witnessing huge protests over the killing of George Floyd, which has reignited the debate about systemic racism in the country. Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck as he lay on the ground during an arrest on May 25. Several videos from the scene showed Floyd saying: “I cannot breathe” and “don’t kill me”.
Floyd, a 46-year-old restaurant worker, was detained for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill. All of the four city police officers involved in the incident were fired from their jobs on May 26 and the one who knelt on Floyd’s neck was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
On May 30, Trump fuelled the anger on Twitter, saying that if protestors had breached the White House fence, they would “have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen”.
Zuckerberg has criticised Trump’s post but said it did not violate Facebook’s rules. “Personally, I have a visceral negative reaction to this kind of divisive and inflammatory rhetoric,” he said in a Facebook post on Friday. “But I’m responsible for reacting not just in my personal capacity but as the leader of an institution committed to free expression.”
“I know many people are upset that we’ve left the President’s 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,” Zuckerberg added.
Several Facebook employees took to Twitter to express outrage over the company’s inaction.
Several Facebook staff members are also circulating petitions and threatening to resign, according to The New York Times.
Meanwhile, last week, Trump had signed an order to remove legal protection given to social media giants.