June 3, 2020

Facebook’s political speech headache has turned into a full-blown migraine

Inside Facebook, criticism of Zuckerberg is heating up.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Turns out, there’s no statement more evergreen than this: Zuck had a bad day yesterday.

Facebook’s head honcho has been dodging internal criticism since he decided not to add a warning to a post by the president that said, in part, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitter said the post glorifies violence.

On Tuesday, Zuck held a company town hall to explain his decision not to take action. Basically, Zuck said Facebook’s policies mandated it. It was a “tough decision,” he told staff, but he was “pretty thorough” in his process.

At one point, ~22k employees tuned in — almost half of the company’s 48k workers. The most up-voted employee question, according to CNN, asked that the company change its policies on political speech — but Zuck wouldn’t budge. 

Facebook’s long, long 24 hours

A lot has happened since Monday, when hundreds of employees staged a virtual walkout: 

  • Zuck’s Monday-night conversation with civil rights leaders got universal 1-star reviews: Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, said that the CEO “lives in a bubble” and doesn’t understand America’s history of racism.
  • A software engineer whose job involved cracking down on misinformation very publicly resigned, writing that the tech giant is “on the wrong side of history.”
  • A nonprofit group called Accountable Tech is hitting Zuck on his home turf: The org took out ads targeting Facebook workers that use the tech kingpin’s own words against him. One example: “We do have to take action if people are doing things that are going to promote violence.”

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