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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.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Sep 9, 2020 - Technology

What Mark Zuckerberg wishes he'd done differently

Illustration: Axios on HBO

If he were starting Facebook all over again, Mark Zuckerberg says he would spend more time telling the world "what our principles are."

What he's saying: "I really used to believe that the product by itself was everything, right?" Zuckerberg told Axios' Mike Allen in a wide-ranging new interview for "Axios on HBO." "And that if we if we built a good product, it didn't matter how we communicated about what we did and how we explained the principles behind the service — people would love and would use the product...."

Mark Zuckerberg defends Facebook's content moderation policies

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended Facebook's content moderation policies in an "Axios on HBO" interview, noting that the company proactively removed roughly 90% of hate speech content from April to June this year.

Driving the news: High-profile ad boycotts held over the summer pressured Facebook to act more forcefully against hate speech, although the efforts had little effect on the company's revenue.

Zuckerberg describes "tension" between data privacy and antitrust regulation

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told "Axios on HBO" that calls for data privacy and antitrust regulation in tech are often at odds.

Why it matters: Democrats and Republicans have pushed for antitrust enforcement as a cure for any number of Big Tech ills, and Americans feel frustrated that they don't have more control over their personal data when using digital services.