Employees in Facebook’s US offices are staging a virtual walkout protesting the firm’s inaction against what they called “hateful" posts by President Donald Trump. The protest comes days after company chief executive Mark Zuckerberg had admonished Twitter for placing warning labels on the President’s post about protests in the city of Minneapolis.
According to a report by The New York Times (NYT), employees have threatened to resign, circulated petitions and expressed their unhappiness publicly through rival platform Twitter. “More than a dozen current and former employees have described the unrest as the most serious challenge to the leadership of Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive, since the company was founded 15 years ago," the publication wrote.
“Along with Black employees in the company, and all persons with a moral conscience, I am calling for Mark to immediately take down the President’s post advocating violence, murder and imminent threat against Black people," an employee told NYT.
The protests also come days after the US President had signed an Executive Order watering down social media companies’ protection from intermediary liability. The President’s order makes social media companies liable for user generated content on their platforms, if they choose to intervene with those posts. That would mean that a social media company could be sued for placing warning labels or fact-checking a particular post.
Trump’s order reduced the impact of provisions in section 230 of the US’ Communications Decency Act. India has a similar rule, called section 79 of the IT Act, which provides similar protections for social media companies and the Indian government has also been looking to water these protections.
About a week ago, Twitter had placed fact checking warning labels on two of President Trump’s posts about mail in ballots. The platform then posted a warning on another of Trump’s post about the Minneapolis protests, saying that it incites violence and is against Twitter’s content policies. Twitter chief executive, Jack Dorsey, has stood by his company’s decision and also spoke against Zuckerberg’s comments via Twitter.
The protests in Minneapolis began on May 26 after George Floyd, an African-American man, died due to police violence. Reports say that Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer pressed down on Floyd’s neck for over 8 minutes while he was lying face down on the ground in handcuffs. A criminal complaint has been made against the officer and investigations are on.