Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly told enraged employees on Friday, May 29, that the social network will re-examine policies that determine how it handles posts in which politicians discuss the use of state force.
In an internal recording of last week’s meeting obtained by The Verge, Zuckerberg expressed “disgust” over Trump’s controversial post, in which he quoted a former Miami police chief who was in charge during Miami’s 1967 race riots.
“How to handle this post from the president has been very tough. It’s been something that I’ve been struggling with basically all day, ever since I woke up. This has been personally pretty wrenching for me,” said Zuckerberg, who was joined by Facebook’s head of policy management, Monika Bickert, on the call.
Zuckerberg further added that he felt there’s a need for “bounds” around discussions on excessive use of police or military force. While the executives ultimately concluded the post will remain up, for now, Zuckerberg did say he doesn’t meet eye-to-eye with President Donald Trump’s approach.
“This is not how I think we want our leaders to show up during this time. This is a moment that calls for unity and calmness and empathy for people who are struggling,” Zuckerberg added.
In a lengthy public post on May 30, Zuckerberg argued the reason Facebook, unlike Twitter, isn’t taking action on Trump’s post is that it thinks “people need to know if the government is planning to deploy force.” The 36-year-old CEO goes on to state that the president, in a follow-up post, also clarified “that the original post was warning about the possibility that looting could lead to violence” and not a reference to former Miami Police Chief Walter Headley’s 1967 quote.
Zuckerberg’s reassurance likely didn’t sit well internally, as on the following weekend, several Facebook employees took to Twitter to publicly criticize their employer and express their disappointment with the decision. Later on Monday, for the first time, a group of Facebook employees also took part in a “virtual walkout” by, as per The New York Times, setting up an automated response to their digital profiles and email inboxes saying that they were out of the office.
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