Trump reportedly held call with Mark Zuckerberg amid controversy over protest posts

President Donald Trump makes a statement to reporters on the reopening of churches across the United States during the Coronavirus Disease Pandemic (COVID-19) in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, May 22 2020.

Leah Millis | Reuters

President Donald Trump had a call with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Friday amid growing controversy between Trump and social media companies over free speech, Axios reported Sunday.

It’s not clear what Trump and Zuckerberg discussed on the call, but both parties described the conversation as productive, according to Axios.

A White House spokesperson declined to comment. Facebook officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump posted messages on Facebook and Twitter this week calling the ballots “fraudulent” and threatening to call on the National Guard to monitor the protests in Minneapolis, saying “when looting begins, filming begins.” Twitter has affixed a warning label on the tweet regarding postal voting, as well as a public service announcement on the tweet regarding the Minneapolis protests for breaking its rules against the glorification of violence.

Facebook left the two Trump posts on its platform. Zuckerberg told CNBC on Thursday that he did not think social media should be “arbiters of the truth”, arguing that people “should be able to see what politicians are saying”. In an article on Friday, Zuckerberg said that the articles on the Minnesota protests did not violate Facebook policies.

“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.

This comes as Trump signed an executive order Friday cracking down on “censorship” of social media sites. The move was widely viewed as a reaction to Twitter’s decision to verify Trump’s tweets on the postal ballots. In response, tech industry groups have criticized the executive order, saying it could stifle free speech, rather than protect it as Trump intended.

Read the full report of Axios.

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