Facebook president and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington on October 23, 2019.
Erin Scott | Reuters
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Friday that an article by President Donald Trump in which he said that “when the looting begins, filming begins” does not violate company policies and will remain online.
“Personally, I have a negative visceral reaction to this kind of confrontational and inflammatory rhetoric,” said Zuckerberg. in his post. “But I am responsible for reacting not only personally, but as the leader of an institution committed to freedom of expression.”
Trump posted protests on Twitter and Facebook this week in Minneapolis on Thursday after the death of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of the police. Trump called the protesters “TILT” and warned that the military was on its way to Minneapolis. “Any difficulty and we will take control but, when the looting begins, the shooting will begin,” Trump wrote on Facebook and Twitter.
Twitter has placed a label warning users of Trump’s violent rhetoric, which they must reject before they can view his tweet. Twitter also prevents users from liking or retweeting the tweet.
On the other hand, Facebook has decided to leave the publication in its entirety.
Facebook has decided to leave the message in place because the company’s position is that it “should allow as much expression as possible unless it causes an imminent risk of damage or of specific dangers set out in clear policies “wrote Zuckerberg.
“I don’t agree at all with the way the president talked about it, but I think people should be able to see it for themselves, because in the end, the responsibility of those in positions of power does not can only happen when their speech is examined in public, “said Zuckerberg. .
Zuckerberg added that Facebook’s policies on incitement to violence allow for discussion around the use of state force.
“We think people should know if the government plans to deploy forces,” wrote Zuckerberg. “Our policy on incitement to violence allows for a discussion of state use of force, although I think the current situation raises important questions about the potential limits of this discussion.”
Within the company’s internal social networks, employees asked Facebook management to reconsider the decision, according to a report from The Verge. An employee, Brandon Dail, went on Twitter to express his disagreement, saying that “Trump’s glorification of the violence on Facebook is disgusting and should absolutely be reported or removed from our platforms.”
Zuckerberg has had a connection with Trump since taking office in 2017 via Peter Thiel, a technology investor and member of the Facebook board of directors. Thiel contributed to Trump’s campaign in 2016 and is the President’s informal advisor on technology issues. Trump welcomed Zuckerberg and Thiel to a private dinner at the White House in October.
Earlier this week, Zuckerberg told CNBC he did not think social media should check political speech. Facebook, however, can suppress messages from politicians if they can lead to the suppression of voters, cause injury or lead to violence.
“People may agree or disagree on where we should draw the line, but I hope they understand that our overall philosophy is that it is better to have this discussion open, especially when the stakes are so high “wrote Zuckerberg.