Mark Zuckerberg told Facebook staff he was ‘disgusted’ by Trump’s comments before staff revolted and staged a virtual walkout over his refusal to delete them
- Mark Zuckerberg said decision to leave Trump’s post up was ‘pretty wrenching’
- Trump shared post last week stating ‘when the looting starts the shooting starts’
- Post was hidden behind warning label on Twitter as site said it ‘glorified violence’
- Facebook said ‘people need to know if government is planning to deploy force’
Mark Zuckerberg told Facebook employees that he was disgusted by Donald Trump’s incendiary ‘when the looting starts, the shooting starts’ post about George Floyd protesters last week while announcing that the social network would not be moderating or deleting it.
Last week, nationwide unrest erupted over the death of George Floyd after video footage showed a white officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes before he died in Minnepolis.
Zuckerberg was speaking on Friday, after Twitter affixed a warning label to a Trump tweet that included the phrase ‘when the looting starts, the shooting starts’. Twitter said it violated rules against glorifying violence but was left up as a public interest exception.
Facebook declined to act on the same message, and Zuckerberg sought to distance his company from the fight between the president and Twitter.
The Facebook CEO told staff that the President’s post ‘is not how I think we want our leaders to show up during this time’ and said the decision to leave it up was ‘personally pretty wrenching’ for him.
Trump last week took to Facebook and Twitter to speak out about the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.
Mark Zuckerberg (right) told Facebook employees that he was ‘disgusted’ by Donald Trump’s incendiary post about George Floyd protesters last week
The post included the line ‘when the looting starts the shooting starts’ which was used by segregationists in the 1960s.
The post was hidden behind a warning label on Twitter with the site slamming it as ‘glorifying violence’.
Facebook, by contrast, did nothing with Zuckerberg writing in a statement that ‘people need to know if the government is planning to deploy force’.
Employees responded by staging a mass virtual walkout in which they refused to work.
Trump last week took to Facebook and Twitter to speak out about the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd
The post included the line ‘when the looting starts the shooting starts’ which was used by segregationists in the 1960s
On Friday Zuckerberg provided a lengthy explanation as to his decision to keep the post live
Zuckerberg held a meeting with his staff shortly after he shared his statement justifying Facebook’s lack of action.
Color of Change President Rashad Robinson (pictured) slammed Zuckerberg for ‘lacking the ability to understand’ why his company’s response to the President’s post was wrong
In audio of the meeting, heard by The Verge, Zuckerberg also criticised Twitter’s response to the Tweet.
He said: ‘If you really believe that a post is going to cause people to go to go do real-world violence, then that’s not the type of thing that I think we should have up even behind a warning.’
Facebook has taken action on controversial posts from world leaders in the past.
In March, Facebook took down a post from Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro slamming it as ‘misinformation that could lead to physical harm’.
Bolsonaro shared a video suggesting that hydroxychloroquine could be a treatment for coronavirus.
Zuckerberg was also slammed by civil rights leaders for ‘lacking the ability to understand’ why his company’s response to the President’s post was wrong.
Color of Change President Rashad Robinson told Bloomberg: ‘The problem with my ongoing conversations with Mark, is that I feel like I spent a lot of time, and my colleagues spent a lot of time, explaining to him why these things are a problem, and I think he just very much lacks the ability to understand it.
‘He continues to do things and make decisions that hurt communities and put people in harm’s way and is not accountable for it.’