Dozens of Facebook employees staged a virtual walkout Monday to protest the social network’s inaction on posts made by President Donald Trump that competitor social network Twitter said incites violence and spreads misinformation.
Facebook has been reluctant to limit posts by Trump that Twitter has taken action against. Last week, the social network added fact-checking notes to misleading Trump tweets about voting by mail and included a content warning on a tweet it said was “glorifying violence.”
On May 28, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Fox News he didn’t think Facebook was responsible for fact-checking the president, unlike what Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said. “I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” Zuckerberg said. “Private companies probably shouldn’t be, especially these platform companies, shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.”
Some Facebook employees say strongly oppose their boss’ stance.
The New York Times first reported the virtual walkouts, writing that “dozens” of Facebook employees across the country took the day off by logging into their human resources systems and requesting a personal day. Zuckerberg typically holds all-hands meetings with nationwide staff each Thursday but has reportedly moved the meeting to tomorrow in an effort to hear employee grievances.
A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement provided to TheWrap that the company welcomes the exchange of ideas and said employees that participate in the virtual demonstration will not be required to use their paid time off to do so.
“We recognize the pain many of our people are feeling right now, especially our Black community,” Facebook said. “We encourage employees to speak openly when they disagree with leadership. As we face additional difficult decisions around content ahead, we’ll continue seeking their honest feedback.”
Zuckerberg also announced Monday that Facebook will donate “$10 million to groups working on racial justice.” In a Facebook post, the CEO said, “we’re working with our civil rights advisors and our employees to identify organizations locally and nationally that could most effectively use this right now. I know that $10 million can’t fix this. It needs sustained, long term effort.”
The Facebook spokesperson said the company hasn’t identified all grant recipients but said they will be organizations working at both state and national levels.