Facebook Inc. employees staged a virtual walkout Monday and some publicly denounced CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to leave up a post from President Trump about the recent social unrest, comments they said violated the company’s rules about inciting violence.
Over the weekend, more than a dozen employees spoke out on Twitter against Zuckerberg’s decision to keep up a post from the president, which called demonstrators thugs and warned: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Hundreds of employees were part of internal groups and chat threads to coordinate the walkout, according to a Facebook employee.
The walkout was confirmed by a company spokeswoman.
Although employee activism has been common around Silicon Valley in recent years, the public outcry is unusual for Facebook employees, who have typically kept their disagreements in-house over the past several years of scandals. But the events of the last few days pushed these debates into public view, mirroring similar developments at rival tech companies like Alphabet Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.
Facebook says it refrains from fact-checking or removing politicians’ posts on the platform but will take down posts that glorify violence and spread voter misinformation. Some employees and outside academics who study Facebook’s content rules said the looting post, along with an earlier one that contained inaccuracies about voting by mail, broke the company’s rules.
“I’m a FB employee that completely disagrees with Mark’s decision to do nothing about Trump’s recent posts, which clearly incite violence,” tweeted Jason Stirman, who lists himself as a design manager at Facebook on his LinkedIn page. “I’m not alone inside of FB. There isn’t a neutral position on racism.”