Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan wrote a recent email in which they stated they are “disgusted” by Trump’s comments about nationwide protests against racial injustice.
The Facebook founder and his wife shared their views last week in an email to a group of scientists who are backed by their nonprofit organization, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI). The couple made the comments after the scientists raised concerns about how Trump’s comments were being handled on Facebook.
“We are deeply shaken and disgusted by President Trump’s divisive and incendiary rhetoric at a time when our nation so desperately needs unity,” Zuckerberg and Chan wrote. “This is an extraordinarily painful inflection point in our nation’s story, particularly for the Black community and our Black colleagues, who have lived with the impacts of systemic racism for generations.”
One of the scientists that received the email shared it with CNN.
Zuckerberg’s response came on the heels of 140 scientists penning a letter to Zuckerberg in which they urged him to “consider stricter policies on misinformation and incendiary language.”
The scientists used the letter to point to widely condemned Facebook posts by Trump that did not follow the social media site guidelines. They singled out Trump’s Twitter post in which he wrote “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
This “is a clear statement of inciting violence,” the scientists wrote. “Like many, we were disconcerted to see that Facebook has not followed their own policies in regards to President Trump, who has used the Facebook platform to spread both misinformation and incendiary statements.”
Zuckerberg and Chan replied in Tuesday’s email that they took their “concerns seriously and to heart.” However, Zuckerberg and Chan offered little in the way of action. Instead, they shared earlier Facebook posts made by Zuckerberg, who defended Facebook’s stance. They pledged to review its policies and content moderation.
Zuckerberg’s decision to leave Trump’s posts up has received backlash from company employees. One employee quit last week saying that he feared Facebook would be used to further escalate violence in the U.S.
In the email, Zuckerberg and Chan also stressed that Facebook and CZI are “entirely separate and independent organizations,” though acknowledged that they do share a leader.
“In this moment, we understand that CZI’s relationship to Facebook is not an easy tension to bridge,” they wrote, before adding that Facebook’s policies “are not the decisions of CZI as an organization.”