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Facebook employees speak out against Zuckerberg, Trump tweets

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faces pushback for not removing President Donald Trump's tweets about looting and shooting amid protests against police brutality in the aftermath of George Floyd's death. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faces pushback for not removing President Donald Trump's tweets about looting and shooting amid protests against police brutality in the aftermath of George Floyd's death. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

June 1 (UPI) -- Facebook employees took to social media to express their opposition to CEO Mark Zuckerberg not taking down tweets believed to incite violence amid protests against police brutality.

President Donald Trump's tweet, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts," reminded people of Miami Police Chief Walter Headley using the same phrase decades ago. Howard University Professor Clarence Lusance said the phrase may have been borrowed from segregationist Eugene "Bull" Connor, who directed police dogs and fire hoses against protesters for civil rights in the 1960s.

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Trump's comments came amid widespread protests against police brutality. The protests came after George Floyd died. Viral video showed Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. Chauvin faces third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges, but protesters also want to see three other officers seen in another video beside him indicted and an end to police brutality and killings disproportionately affecting black people.

Twitter hid the tweet Friday behind a warning, saying it "violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence," though it could still be read by taking an additional step to click on "View." But Zuckerberg has not taken it down, defending the company's policy of not interfering with politicians' statements.

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"I don't know what to do, but I know doing nothing is not acceptable," a design manager at Facebook, Jason Stirman, tweeted, who was among others disagreeing with Zuckerberg's decision. "I'm a FB employee that completely disagrees with Mark's decision to do nothing about Trump's recent posts, which clearly incite violence. I'm not alone inside of FB. There isn't a neutral position on racism."

In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg defended his position.

"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," he wrote.

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In another post late Sunday night, Zuckerberg said that Facebook has committed to donate "$10 million to groups working on racial justice," with the details sorted out by civil rights advisers and employees.

Zuckerberg added that he and his wife donate $40 million a year to racial justice organizations.

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