- Some Facebook employees feel like the company has been in an “abusive relationship” with President Trump, according to internal documents obtained by The Washington Post.
- It’s the latest sign that employee dissent is brewing at Facebook over the company’s decision not to take action against a controversial post from President Trump about the George Floyd protests.
- Some workers also reportedly wrote on an internal message board that they felt like Trump might be testing social media companies like Facebook.
- Do you work at Facebook and have insight to share? Contact this reporter via encrypted email (firstname.lastname@example.org), standard email (email@example.com), or Twitter DM (@lisaeadicicco). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a nonwork device to reach out.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Dissent is brewing at Facebook as employees continue to speak out against the company’s decision not to take action against a controversial post from President Trump that threatened violence in response to George Floyd protests.
Citing documents that show more than 200 posts from an internal message board, The Washington Post reports that some employees said Facebook was in an “abusive relationship” with the president. Some Facebook staff also expressed concern that the president may be intentionally testing social media companies ahead of the 2020 election, according to the report.
“It might be a coincidence, but the timing of this feels like a test balloon … of what we should expect through November 2020 and beyond,” one person said on an internal message board, according to The Washington Post.
“My toddler basically does the same thing to test boundaries,” another person said.
Employees were also surprised by the company’s response since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said in the past that politicians were not exempt from the company’s rules on banning posts that incite violence, according to the report.
Early last Friday, the president admonished protesters and wrote “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” a phrase coined by a white police chief whose actions fueled unrest and rioting during 1960s civil rights protests. Twitter hid the post with a disclaimer warning it glorified violence, while Snap Inc. has decided to stop promoting the president’s account in Snapchat’s Discover section. Facebook let the post stand after Mark Zuckerberg reportedly spoke with Trump over the phone.
The Washington Post reported that the group that made the decision is:
- Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook chief operating officer
- Joel Kaplan, vice president for US public policy
- Maxine Williams, head of diversity
- Nick Clegg, vice president of global affairs and communications
- Facebook’s head of human resources
- The company’s general counsel
Facebook did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
The Post’s report is just the latest evidence that Facebook employees are rallying against the company’s inaction regarding the president’s post and its moderation policies.
Real Life. Real News. Real Voices
Help us tell more of the stories that matterBecome a founding member
Zuckerberg stood by the decision in an internal town hall meeting on Tuesday, coming after he addressed the issue in a post publicly on Facebook.
“I disagree strongly with how the President spoke about this, but I believe people should be able to see this for themselves, because ultimately accountability for those in positions of power can only happen when their speech is scrutinized out in the open,” Zuckerberg wrote.
Just before the backlash over Trump’s post erupted, the president signed an executive order targeting Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Section 230 protects social media companies like Facebook from being legally responsible for what people post on their platforms. The order came after Twitter had added fact-checking links to two of Trump’s tweets that included false information about voting by mail. The president had long accused social media companies of intentionally suppressing conservative voices.
Do you work at Facebook? We want to hear from you. Contact Business Insider reporter Lisa Eadicicco via encrypted email (firstname.lastname@example.org), standard email (email@example.com), or Twitter DM (@lisaeadicicco). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a nonwork device to reach out.
Subscribe to the newsletter news
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe