Zuckerberg says allowing Trump's controversial posts was 'correct' decision
When Twitter moderated a few controversial tweets from US President Donald Trump, all eyes were on what Facebook, its counterpart, would do to deal with similar content on its own platform. Unsurprisingly, the social network turned a blind eye; it allowed those posts, and Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of the company, says they did the right thing. Here is more about it.
There were two separate posts from President Trump that drew action from Twitter and clearance from Facebook. One had misinformation about mail-in voting and implied that ballots would be given to everyone in the state of California. Meanwhile, the other one called people protesting the brutal killing of a black man as 'THUGS' and warned them "when the looting starts, the shooting starts."
Twitter took action by labeling the misleading mail-in voting tweets with a fact-check warning, while the one threatening to shoot protesters was hidden on the grounds of violating Twitter Rules about the "glorification of violence."
While Twitter's action drew flak from Trump, who later signed an executive order limiting protections available to social media firms, Facebook's non-action became a subject of criticism from its employees and the public in general. They accused Zuckerberg of supporting the promotion of violence from Trump and allowing election-related misinformation. Some even staged a virtual walkout to raise their voice against the decision.
In light of the growing criticism, Zuckerberg recently held a conference with employees to address their concerns over this entire debacle. He said the company should have offered more transparency over what was the rationale behind allowing Trump's posts but emphasized that the choice they made - after a "pretty thorough" evaluation of those posts - was correct.
Zuckerberg added he was upset by Trump's posts but had to make a choice that upheld Facebook's dedication to freedom of expression. He said, "I needed to separate out my personal opinion from what our policy is and the principles of the platform we're running — knowing that the decision we made was going to lead to a lot of people being very upset."
"The presumption on our service is that you should be able to say what you want unless you're causing a specific harm and we enumerate what the harms are and try to enforce them. And I do think that default is right."
While explaining the company's stance on the existing issue, Zuckerberg also noted that Facebook's policies on limiting/labeling content promoting violence could be re-examined if the civil unrest in the US continued for a prolonged period. "We have some precedents for what that might look like," he said, giving the example of how Facebook handles posts in countries with "ongoing violent conflict."