Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday defended the company’s decision not to take action against President Trump’s controversial posts about protests that have swept the nation in response to the death of George Floyd.
During a virtual question-and-answer session with employees, Zuckerberg said that Facebook’s policies and principles in regard to free speech showed that “the right action” was to leave the posts up, according to audio of the call heard by The New York Times.
“I knew that I would have to separate out my personal opinion,” Zuckerberg said. “Knowing that when we made this decision we made, it was going to lead to a lot of people upset inside the company, and the media criticism we were going to get.”
A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill that “open and honest discussion has always been a part of Facebook’s culture. Mark had an open discussion with employees today, as he has regularly over the years.”
“He’s grateful for their feedback,” the spokesperson added.
The remarks came amid growing backlash inside Facebook over the company’s failure to take action against Trump’s rhetoric. Several employees have publicly voiced dissent over the company’s policies in recent days and hundreds reportedly participated in a “virtual” walkout on Monday to protest the inaction.
The internal criticism caused Facebook to move the meeting, which had initially been scheduled for Thursday, up to Tuesday, the Times noted.
Much of the criticism stems from Facebook’s decision not to label or remove one of Trump’s posts about the escalating protests in Minneapolis. In a post shared on Twitter and Facebook on Thursday night, Trump described protesters as “thugs” and said that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
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