December 5, 2023

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Zuckerberg defends Facebook’s hands-off response to Trump’s controversial posts, report says


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s approach to political speech is drawing criticism from his own employees. 

James Martin/CNET

Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is reportedly standing by the company’s decision to not take action against posts by President Donald Trump that employees say could incite violence.

The New York Times, which listened to audio of an internal meeting, reported Tuesday that Zuckerberg told employees he had made a “tough decision” but that it “was pretty thorough.” His remarks come a day after hundreds of Facebook employees staged a virtual walkout to protest the company’s decision, which contrasted with how Twitter handled the same content.

In the social media posts shared on both Twitter and Facebook, Trump said “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” The president made the remarks in response to news about protests that have erupted following the death of George Floyd, a black man in Minnesota who died after a white police officer pinned his neck down with his knee. The incident was recorded on video and Floyd says in the footage that he couldn’t breathe, sparking protests across the nation. 

Twitter placed a notice over the president’s tweet for violating its rules against glorifying violence but still allowed users to view it because of public interest. Facebook left up Trump’s post after the company determined that the president’s remarks didn’t violate its rules against potentially causing “imminent risk of specific harms or dangers.” Facebook allows for discussion around the state use of force and Zuckerberg said the company left it up because it referenced the National Guard so the social network “read it as a warning about state action.”

Conservative users have accused the company of censoring their speech although social networks have repeatedly denied these allegations. On Thursday, signed an executive order on Thursday in an attempt to curtail the legal protections social media networks get under a federal law for posts created by its users.

This story is developing…

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