Facebook CEO Crumples Under Activist Pressure to Consider Censoring Trump

June 8th, 2020 12:37 PM

After Facebook employees and the liberal media lobbied for the removal of President Donald Trump’s Facebook posts about the protests, it appears Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg may listen to them. 

In an extensive Facebook post from June 5, Zuckerberg acknowledged the outcry and stated, “We’re going to review our policies allowing discussion and threats of state use of force to see if there are any amendments we should adopt.” 

Previously, however, the Facebook CEO had expressed a commitment to free speech principles, announcing that the president’s rhetoric was “divisive and inflammatory,” but Zuckerberg himself was “committed to free expression.” 

Facebook employees, scientists who received funding from Zuckerberg’s philanthropic organization, and company contractors have all urged the company to remove Trump’s statements. 

In a letter written to Zuckerberg, scientists who have received money from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) said, “[L]ike many, we were disconcerted to see that Facebook has not followed their own policies in regards to President Trump, who has used the Facebook platform to spread both misinformation and incendiary statements.” 

Content moderators who were hired by Facebook through third-party companies called Trump’s statements, “the ultimate exhibit of white exceptionality and further legitimisation of state brutality we have witnessed in the last weeks.” 

Zuckerberg said, “We’re going to review potential options for handling violating or partially-violating content aside from the binary leave-it-up or take-it-down decisions.” He continued, “I know many of you think we should have labeled the President’s posts in some way last week. Our current policy is that if content is actually inciting violence, then the right mitigation is to take that content down -- not let people continue seeing it behind a flag.” 

However, Zuckerberg qualified his post with the statement: “And while we will continue to stand for giving everyone a voice and erring on the side of free expression in these difficult decisions -- even when it’s speech we strongly and viscerally disagree with -- I’m committed to making sure we also fight for voter engagement and racial justice too.” 

Some of Facebook’s suggestions for “racial justice” included telling the administrators of Facebook groups to consider making room for “more diverse voices” on the moderator team. Zuckerberg also announced in his post that he was starting a “workstream” for building products to “advance racial justice.”