FILE PHOTO: Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., October 23, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

On Monday, hundreds of Facebook employees conducted a “virtual walkout” to protest executives’ decision to not label inflammatory posts from President Donald Trump posted on the site. Timothy Aveni and Owen Anderson, two software engineers at Facebook, publicly quit on Tuesday in protest of Facebook’s decisions. Anderson stated on Twitter that he was “happy to no long[er] support policies and values I vehemently disagree with.” In addition, Talkspace, a provider of online therapy, ended its partnership with Facebook. CEO Oren Frank tweeted that the Talkspace “will not support a platform that incites violence, racism, and lies.”

Facebook’s move was in contrast to Twitter attaching a warning label to President Trump’s post on its site on May 28, due to the post “glorifying violence.” A day after Twitter’s decision, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that it would leave President Trump’s post online without any added labels in order to “enable as much expression as possible unless it will cause imminent risk of specific harms or dangers spelled out in clear policies.”

During an 85-minute meeting with employees on Tuesday, Zuckerberg admitted that the decision “likely… incurred massive practical cost for the company to do what we think is the right step,” adding that Facebook may temporarily update its content moderation policies if civil unrest continues. Color of Change President Rashad Robison expressed disappointment with Zuckerberg’s response thus far.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Zuckerberg defiant in tense session with employees over Trump posts, report says – Fox News – 6/3/2020
Despite public rebukes from several of his employees, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg resisted calls to label posts from President Trump with a warning sign in a similar manner to what Twitter did last month, according to media reports.

Mark Zuckerberg commits Facebook to $10 million donation to ‘groups working on racial justice’ – TechCrunch – 6/1/2020
Even as Facebook continues to take a hands-off approach to monitoring violent rhetoric and disinformation on its platform, the company will make a $10 million donation “to groups working on racial justice” in the U.S., according to a late Sunday night post from chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.

After George Floyd’s death, tech billionaires are wrestling with their responsibilities when it comes to race – Vox – 6/2/2020
After a weekend of nationwide protests following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Sunday evening that Facebook was committing $10 million to racial justice causes. […] But the Facebook gift backfired, with some employees expressing their belief that the donation was a distraction from the real ways in which Facebook could foster racial healing, like by moderating President Donald Trump’s posts, which some say encouraged violence against protesters.

Civil Rights Groups, Facebook Employees Pressure Mark Zuckerberg to Censor Trump – Breitbart – 6/3/2020
One Facebook executive named Ryan Freitas, a director of product design for Facebook’s News Feed, stated in a tweet that “Mark [Zuckerberg] is wrong,” adding that he had mobilized “50+ likeminded folks” to lobby for change at Facebook internally.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Judd Legum on Twitter, 6/3/2020: The internal revolt at Facebook is the result of its contradictory messages colliding Facebook has pitched itself to employees as a progressive & inclusive company Meanwhile, its public policy team is run by GOP operatives focused on placating Trump

Jeff Jarvis on Twitter, 6/3/2020: Facebook: It is time to stop hiding behind freedom of expression, especially as Donald Trump threatens that very freedom. It is time to have the courage to stand for something. What do you stand for?

Media Research Center on Twitter, 6/3/2020: MRC president @BrentBozell says Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg needs to continue standing strong against “social media brown shirts” who want to censor content they don’t like.

Benedict Evans on Twitter, 6/3/2020: @javame So should Facebook judge whether the context is good enough?

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