Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted his decision not to act on Trump’s posts inciting violence on George Floyd protesters hurt public perception of the company, as tensions came to a head during an 85-minute meeting with employees on Tuesday.
Zuckerberg addressed the social network’s workforce on Tuesday amid escalating dissent from workers furious at Facebook for not taking action on a racially charged post written by Trump last week that read: “When the shooting starts, the looting starts”.
On Tuesday, he told employees the company would address employee concerns through a seven-point plan that includes: better communicating how and why internal policy decisions are made, including more diverse voices on policy teams, and consider new labels for distasteful content that falls short of violating content policy.
Zuckerberg also admitted that the company’s inaction over Trump’s post “likely... incurred a massive practical cost for the company to do what we think is the right step,” The Verge’s Casey Newton reports.
He added that if civil unrest continues, Facebook may look at updating its policies temporarily, in the same way that Facebook updated its policies on misinformation relating to COVID-19 in the midst of the public health emergency.
Prior to the meeting, the CEO defended his decision to leave the post up on the site, saying it doesn’t violate its policies.
Several senior employees had publicly denounced Facebook for the decision, many of them flocking to Twitter to voice their opposition and say “there isn’t a neutral position on racism.”
Zuckerberg told his employees: “I knew that I needed to separate out my personal opinion...from what our policy is and the principles of the platform we’re running are — knowing that the decision that we made was going to lead to a lot of people being very upset inside the company and a lot of the media criticism we’re going to get.”