Social media giant Facebook is taking a serious look at company policy thanks to President Donald Trump. This follows in response to his recent post regarding U.S. riots: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Zuckerberg posted, “I’ve been struggling with how to respond to the President’s tweets and posts all day. Personally, I have a visceral negative reaction to this kind of divisive and inflammatory rhetoric. This moment calls for unity and calmness, and we need empathy for the people and communities who are hurting. We need to come together as a country to pursue justice and break this cycle.”
Then added, “I know many people are upset that we’ve left the President’s posts up, but our position is that we should enable as much expression as possible unless it will cause imminent risk of specific harms or dangers spelled out in clear policies.”
Along with, “Although the post had a troubling historical reference, we decided to leave it up because the National Guard references meant we read it as a warning about state action, and we think people need to know if the government is planning to deploy force. Our policy around incitement of violence allows discussion around state use of force, although I think today’s situation raises important questions about what potential limits of that discussion should be.”
In addition he stated, “My first reaction … was just disgust. This is not how I think we want our leaders to show up during this time. This is a moment that calls for unity and calmness and empathy for people who are struggling.”
The Verge reports:
executives concluded that Trump’s remarks didn’t violate their existing policies. But he said they would re-examine their policies around politicians discussing the use of state force on Facebook, a process he said would likely take several weeks.
Zuckerberg later shared with employees on Friday: “There is a real question coming out of this, which is whether we want 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. I think there’s a good argument that there should be more bounds around the discussion around that.” The debate of censorship and freedom of expression now intersects with big tech and politics at a most crucial time.