FILE PHOTO: Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, U.S., October 23, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook (FB.O) CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees on Tuesday that he stood by his decision not to challenge inflammatory posts by U.S. President Donald Trump, refusing to give ground a day after staff members staged a rare public protest.
A group of Facebook employees – nearly all of them working at home due to the coronavirus pandemic – walked off the job on Monday, complaining their company should have placed a warning label on Trump’s tweet about protests containing the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Zuckerberg told employees that Facebook had conducted a thorough review and was right to leave the posts unchallenged, a company spokeswoman said.
She said Zuckerberg also acknowledged the decision had upset many people working at the company.
Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) on Friday affixed a warning label to a Trump tweet about widespread protests over the death of a black man in Minnesota last week that included the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Twitter said the post violated its rules against glorifying violence but was left up as public interest exception, with reduced options for interactions and distribution.
Facebook declined to act on the same message, and Zuckerberg sought to distance his company from the fight between the president and Twitter. He maintained that while he found Trump’s remarks “deeply offensive,” they did not violate company policy against incitements to violence.
One employee, who had tweeted his dissent on Monday, expressed disappointment with Facebook executives on Twitter.
“It’s crystal clear today that leadership refuses to stand with us,” Brandon Dail wrote on Twitter. Dail’s LinkedIn profile describes him as a user interface engineer at Facebook in Seattle.
Reporting by Katie Paul and Elizabeth Culliford; Editing by David Gregorio