Facebook faces flak from workers for no action on controversial Trump posts
San Francisco: Some Facebook employees are not happy with the social media giant’s decision to not take any action on the controversial posts by US Presidents Donald Trump which were earlier flagged by Twitter, The Verge reported, citing leaked posts.
Some of these employees are calling on Facebook executives to reconsider the decision to keep Trump’s posts about mail-in ballots and the Minnesota protests.
“I have to say I am finding the contortions we have to go through incredibly hard to stomach,” one employee was quoted as saying in a comment about the shooting post.
“All this points to a very high risk of a violent escalation and civil unrest in November and if we fail the test case here, history will not judge us kindly.”
However, Facebook joined Twitter in criticising Trump’s executive order on “preventing online censorship” issued on Thursday.
While Facebook said that it will “restrict more speech online, not less”, Twitter called the executive order a reactionary and politicised approach to a landmark law.
Trump signed the order in a bid to strip social media platforms of some of the legal protections that they enjoy.
Trump’s offensive came on the back of fact checks by Twitter which took the form of a hyperlink that tagged onto exactly two of Trump’s tweets and said “Get the facts about mail-in ballots”.
Even after the executive order was issued, Twitter flagged a fresh tweet from Trump about the Minneapolis violence, saying that the tweet violated Twitter policies about glorifying violence.
The tweets were cross-posted to Facebook.
According to the report in The Verge on Friday, Monika Bickert, the company’s vice president of global policy management, explained the company’s rationale for not taking action on the mail-in ballot post in a lengthy write-up on Workplace, the company’s internal version of Facebook.
“We reviewed the claim and determined that it doesn’t break our rules against voter interference because it doesn’t mislead people about how they can register to vote or the different ways they can vote,” Bickert was quoted as saying on Thursday in a post that received more than 700 comments.
“If it had, we should have removed the post from our platform altogether because our voter interference policy applies to everyone, including politicians.”
In response to the post, some employees also asked why Facebook did not take action on Trump’s post about Minnesota protests.
“I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis… These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you,” Trump had said in the post on Friday.
He later added that “it was spoken as a fact, not as a statement. It’s very simple, nobody should have any problem with this other than the haters, and those looking to cause trouble on social media. Honor the memory of George Floyd!”