International News

Facebook staff stages walkout to protest Zuckerberg

Facebook's HR department told managers not to punish the employees who choose to take the time off, or to file it as one of their paid days off either.

Quinn Patrick Montreal, QC
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Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook recently made a statements saying he would not take action to remove or limit a series of controversial posts made by President Trump which has resulted in some Facebook employees staging a virtual strike, according to Global News.

In practical virtual walkout will see employees of Facebook taking the day off work. Facebook's human resources department told the company's managers not to punish the employees who choose to take the time off, or to file it as one of their paid days off either.

"Giving a platform to incite violence and spread disinformation is unacceptable, regardless who you are or if it's newsworthy," tweeted Andrew Crow, head of design for Facebook's Portal devices. "I disagree with Mark's position and will work to make change happen," he added.

The is a growing number of Facebook employees who have been criticizing the social media platform via Twitter. Jason Stirman, a design manager at Facebook, tweeted "I'm not alone inside of FB. There isn't a neutral position on racism," on Saturday.

In response to the wave of internal dissent, a spokesperson for Facebook appeared on CNN Business and said, "We recognize the pain many of our people are feeling right now, especially our Black community. We encourage employees to speak openly when they disagree with leadership. As we face additional difficult decisions around content ahead, we'll continue seeking their honest feedback."

Twitter attached a fact-check label to several of Trump's tweets regarding mail-in ballots last week and following a tweet in which Trump warned protestors in Minneapolis, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." Twitter placed a warning label on the tweet.

Similarly, Trump made such comments on Facebook however the company did not respond by taking any actions against the posts, prompting an internal backlash. This has been a standard imposed by Zuckerberg, who has been unwilling to push the boundaries that would question the continuance of Facebook as a platform versus a publisher, with regard to Section 230 regulations.

"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," wrote Zuckerberg on Friday in a Facebook post. "But I'm responsible for reacting not just in my personal capacity but as the leader of an institution committed to free expression."

Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey come at this from different perspectives, and Twitter has been more willing to make judgements as to the veracity of posts from elected leaders. However, Facebooks has worked to curb the spread of misinformation with regard to the COVID-19 coronavirus. He has also been more active in trying to make room for conservative voices on the platform.

Facebook has a workforce of about 48,000 in total and so far only a minority of the employees are involved in the virtual walkout however some are among the companies top employees.

Should Facebook choose to begin censoring their posts they will also run the risk of upsetting conservatives who have already been long-since upset with the perceived left-wing bias of big tech.

The death of George Floyd has only exacerbated the unrest within Facebook's employees.

An employee of Instagram, Katie Zhu tweeted that she too would take Monday off and because she is "deeply disappointed" and "ashamed" with "how the company is showing up."

"I work at Facebook and I am not proud of how we're showing up. The majority of coworkers I've spoken to feel the same way. We are making our voice heard," tweeted Jason Toff, director of product management at Facebook on Monday.

"Facebook needs to do more to support equality and safety for the Black community through our platforms," wrote Mark Zuckerberg on his personal Facebook page on Sunday, pledging that the company would donate $10 million to advocacy groups for racial justice.

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