Former Facebook employees wrote a letter to the company's leaders criticizing their 'cowardly' decision not to take action against Trump's posts

Former Facebook employees wrote a letter to the company's leaders criticizing their 'cowardly' decision not to take action against Trump's posts
This Oct. 25, 2019 file photo shows Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaking at the Paley Center in New York. If you want a gauge for what the future of office work will look like, watch how the biggest tech companies are preparing for a post-pandemic world. During an employee town hall Thursday Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said “We want to make sure we move forward in a measured way”. Facebook, which has nearly 45,000 employees, is looking five to 10 years down the line as it plans for more remote work, even when COVID-19 is no longer a threat that keeps its employees working from home. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)Associated Press
  • A group of former Facebook employees who joined the company early on have written a letter to the company urging it to reconsider its policies around the way it handles posts from politicians.
  • The letter comes as Facebook is caught up in backlash over its decision not to take action against a controversial post from President Trump about the George Floyd protests.
  • The decision has also caused unrest within Facebook, with some employees staging a virtual walkout in protest.
  • The letter urges Facebook's leadership to take action by fact-checking politicians and labeling harmful posts.

A group of former Facebook employees has written an open letter to the company urging the social-media giant to reconsider its stance on the way it handles posts published by politicians, according to The New York Times' Mike Isaac, who obtained the letter.

The letter, which is signed by more than two dozen former Facebook employees who joined the company early on, comes after the company chose not to take action against a post from President Donald Trump that has been criticized as inciting violence against protesters participating in the George Floyd demonstrations. The group of ex-Facebook workers urged the company to rethink its policies and start fact-checking politicians and labeling harmful posts.

"The company we joined valued giving individuals a voice as loud as their government's — protecting the powerless rather than the powerful," the letter said, according to The Times. "Facebook now turns that goal on its head."

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"It claims that providing warnings about a politician's speech is inappropriate, but removing content from citizens is acceptable, even if both are saying the same thing," the letter added. "That is not a noble stand for freedom. It is incoherent, and worse, it is cowardly. Facebook should be holding politicians to a higher standard than their constituents."

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Facebook declined to provide a comment for this story.

Twitter placed a warning label on the same post from Trump on its platform that says the tweet may incite violence. Snapchat parent company Snap Inc. recently said it would no longer promote Trump's account on its app's Discover section, as to not "amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice."

But Facebook has remained firm in its stance that it should not be "the arbiter of truth" and posts from politicians should remain untouched so the public can make their own decisions regarding political speech.

"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," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a public Facebook post on May 29.

Zuckerberg has also previously discussed the company's stance on political speech when speaking with CNBC and Fox Business.


"Political speech is one of the most sensitive parts in a democracy," Zuckerberg recently told CNBC. "And people should be able to see what politicians say."

The recent decision regarding Trump's post has caused unrest among Facebook employees, some of whom staged a virtual walkout on Monday to protest the company's handling of the situation.

Now the former Facebook employees behind the letter have a message for Zuckerberg: Reconsider these decisions.

"To Mark: we know that you think deeply about these issues, but we also know that Facebook must work to regain the public's trust," the letter said. "Facebook isn't neutral, and it never has been. Making the world more open and connected, strengthening communities, giving everyone a voice — these are not neutral ideas. Fact-checking is not censorship. Labeling a call to violence is not authoritarianism."