Facebook had said it will not remove or take any action on what the US President, Donald Trump tweeted about which is being said to be “glorifying violence” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO. “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” added the FB CEO.
Facebook “looked very closely at the post that discussed the protests in Minnesota,” Zuckerberg said, “to evaluate whether it violated our policies.” Ultimately, the company “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.”
Zuckerberg noted that in a subsequent tweet, Trump softened his remarks, “saying that the original post was warning about the possibility that looting could lead to violence. We decided that this post, which explicitly discouraged violence, also does not violate our policies and is important for people to see.”
Twitter had earlier this week added a label to President Trump’s tweet about mail-in ballot where as well as hiding another behind an interstitial warning for “glorifying violence”. Facebook on the other hand didn’t add any link to Trump’s post about the mail-in ballot fraud as the company says it didn’t violate their policies.
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Until yesterday, Friday 29th, Facebook didn’t make any comment about what it intended to do against the President’s post about the protest in Minneapolis which included a line such as “when the looting starts, shooting starts.”
“I have to say I am finding the contortions we have to go through incredibly hard to stomach,” one employee wrote in a comment about the shooting post. “All this points to a very high risk of a violent escalation and civil unrest in November and if we fail the test case here, history will not judge us kindly.”
Zuckerberg said that Facebook differed from Twitter in that it has no policy about placing warning labels in front of posts that might incite violence, and instead simply removes them. “We believe that if a post incites violence, it should be removed regardless of whether it is newsworthy, even if it comes from a politician,” he said. “We have been in touch with the White House today to explain these policies as well.”
He concluded: “These are difficult decisions and, just like today, the content we leave up I often find deeply offensive. We try to think through all the consequences, and we keep our policies under constant review because the context is always evolving. People can agree or disagree on where we should draw the line, but I hope they understand our overall philosophy is that it is better to have this discussion out in the open, especially when the stakes are so high. I disagree strongly with how the President spoke about this, but I believe people should be able to see this for themselves, because ultimately accountability for those in positions of power can only happen when their speech is scrutinized out in the open.”