Zuckerberg stands by Facebook’s policies as employees revolt, quit

Luke Dormehl

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg isn’t backing down from his decision not to moderate President Donald Trump’s recent controversial Facebook messages.

In a virtual town hall meeting Tuesday, Zuckerberg said that his decision had been a “tough” one to make but said the decision process “was pretty thorough,” according to the New York Times.

Zuckerberg reportedly said that the “right action” at present is to “leave [Trump’s words] up” on Facebook.

“I knew that I would have to separate out my personal opinion,” he continued. “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.”

Trump’s comments, in which the president declared “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” were hidden behind a warning by social media competitor Twitter for glorifying violence. Zuckerberg, however, has said Trump’s statements won’t be moderated on his platform.

Zuckerberg publicly defended Facebook’s decision to not remove Trump’s messages by arguing that he believes in free speech. Zuckerberg also said that the messages posted online by world leaders are newsworthy and in the public interest.

Zuckerberg’s response has been heavily criticized, with hundreds of employees refusing to work Monday in protest and publicly voicing their criticism on Twitter.

His virtual town hall Tuesday appeared to have not calmed divisions inside the company, with one employee tweeting during the call: “It’s crystal clear today that leadership refuses to stand with us.”

Another worker, Facebook software engineer Timothy Aveni, resigned Tuesday ahead of the town hall, slamming the social media giant for its policies.

“I cannot stand by Facebook’s continued refusal to act on the president’s bigoted messages aimed at radicalizing the American public,” Aveni said in a widely shared post. “I’m scared for my country, and I’m watching my company do nothing to challenge the increasingly dangerous status quo.”

Aveni had been employed at Facebook since June 2019, shortly after graduating from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He described his job at Facebook as “battling the spread of misinformation.”

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