In the wake of harsh criticism of Facebook’s policies around violence and hate speech, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has committed to funding organizations fighting for racial justice.
“Facebook is committing an additional $10 million to groups working on racial justice,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post. “We’re working with our civil rights advisors and our employees to identify organizations locally and nationally that could most effectively use this right now.”
He went on to say, “I know that $10 million can’t fix this. It needs sustained, long-term effort,” and talked about how the foundation he runs with his wife Priscilla Chan, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, has been “investing ~$40 million annually for several years in organizations working to overcome racial injustice.”
Critics have pointed out that, with a net worth of over $80 billion, Zuckerberg’s $10 million commitment represents around 0.01 percent of his current worth.
This commitment comes after a week in which Facebook has been criticized for not blocking President Trump’s post about protests in Minneapolis over the murder of George Floyd by police. A Trump tweet about the protests included the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” a post which Twitter hid for glorifying violence. But when Trump posted the same thing to Facebook, the company chose not to block it.
Facebook has also chosen not to block, fact-check, or add a warning label to Trump posts which contain misinformation, with Zuckerberg saying that Facebook would not be “arbiters of truth.”
Senior figures within Facebook have expressed their disagreement with this stance, as reported by Bloomberg. Andrew Crow, head of design for Facebook Portal, wrote that, “Censoring information that might help people see the complete picture *is* wrong. But giving a platform to incite violence and spread disinformation is unacceptable, regardless who you are or if it’s newsworthy. I disagree with Mark’s position and will work to make change happen.”
Jason Stirman, an architect of Medium who now works for R&D in Facebook, wrote, “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.”
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