Jun 2, 2020 - Economy & Business

Report: Zuckerberg defends Facebook's choice to keep Trump posts

Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg doubled down on his decision not to remove incendiary posts from President Trump in an internal call with employees on Tuesday, The New York Times reports.

The state of play: The tech giant is facing criticism for keeping the posts on the site after Twitter added fact-checks to Trump's same posts last week.

  • Facebook employees staged a virtual walkout Monday to protest their employer's decision.
  • Advocacy groups are calling on the company to do a better job of keeping harmful content off the platform.
  • Civil rights groups said they were disappointed after a Monday night Zoom call with Zuckerberg and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, in which they discussed the decision.

Details: On the call with employees Tuesday, Zuckerberg said he made a “tough decision” but that it “was pretty thorough,” per The Times.

  • He told employees that he knew the company would be scrutinized for its choice.
  • He made the comments on a video call that was scheduled for Thursday but moved up in light of Monday's walkout.

The big picture: Facebook has taken the toughest stance on defending free speech among its competitors to the satisfaction of many Republicans, including Trump.

  • The company still allows political advertisers to micro-target ads, while Google limited targeting and Twitter banned political ads entirely.

Yes, but: Facebook is not alone in the tech world for having to make tough decisions that could have big implications in the future.

  • Former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao called out the company's current chief executive Steve Huffman on Twitter Monday night for not shutting down right-wing subreddit "r/the_donald," after he published a statement addressing the protests.

What they're saying: "Open and honest discussion has always been a part of Facebook's culture. Mark [Zuckerberg] had an open discussion with employees today, as he has regularly over the years. He's grateful for their feedback," a Facebook spokesperson said.

The bottom line: Zuckerberg is proving that he's unwilling to yield his values around this issue in the face of intense criticism from many stakeholders.

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