Facebook may flip-flop and start censoring Trump, report says

President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks Tuesday, May 5, 2020, at Honeywell International Inc. in Phoenix. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is facing criticism from his employees for choosing not to emulate Twitter’s policy of regulating President Trump’s statements on social media.

Twitter flagged Trump’s tweet warning rioters that when the looting starts, the shooting starts, accusing the president of “glorifying violence,” even though tweets from the left such as “burning things works” have been ignored.

The Verge reports that in a recent employee meeting with Zuckerberg concerning the issue, a few hundred employees were so upset they engaged into a “virtual walkout.”

The Verge received a recording of the meeting from employees and an evaluation that said: “Zuckerberg described being upset by Trump’s recent posts, one of which warned protesters that ‘when the looting starts, the shooting starts.’ But ‘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.”

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The Verge reported Zuckerberg said Facebook might adopt temporary speech restrictions.

“If we were entering a period where there may be a prolonged period of civil unrest, then that might suggest that we need different policies, even if just temporarily in the United States for some period, compared to where we were before,” he said, according to the recording.

The report said Zuckerberg confirmed he talked to Trump about his posts after he decided not to flag them.

He also said, according to the Verge report, that Facebook has a process if employees have concerns about such posts. The policies, Zuckerberg said, also are going to be reviewed.

The Verge reported another employee said Zuckerberg’s decision was supported by the majority of the company but people who agreed with it were afraid to speak out for fear of appearing insensitive.

Zuckerberg said Facebook needs to decide whether or not “to evolve our policy around the discussion of state use of force.”

“Over the coming days, as the National Guard is now deployed, probably the largest one that I would worry about would be excessive use of police or military force,” he said. “I think there’s a good argument that there should be more bounds around the discussion around that.”

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