Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook will review its policies concerning the state use of force, voter suppression and content moderation, as the company faces a backlash from many of its own workers over its inaction on controversial posts by President Donald Trump.
The Facebook cofounder and CEO also addressed the protests that have erupted across the United States and around the world following the death of George Floyd.
“To members of our Black community: I stand with you. Your lives matter. Black lives matter,” he wrote.
Zuckerberg’s remarks come days after he hosted a contentious town hall with Facebook employees, a number of whom expressed outrage at Facebook’s decision not to take action against posts by Trump that rival platform Twitter flagged as having violated its own rules. One of those posts referred to mail-in ballots, while another containing the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” was labeled by Twitter for flouting its policies on glorifying violence.
Facebook will review its policies on both those fronts, Zuckerberg said, specifically accounting for “instances of excessive use of police or state force” and “civil unrest,” as well as “the realities of voting in the midst of a pandemic.”
Zuckerberg has previously said Facebook would take down any post that incites violence — no matter who posted it — rather than placing any sort of warning label on it. When questioned about the decision to leave Trump’s posts up during this week’s town hall, he said Facebook’s policies currently don’t cover state use of force because states are legally allowed to use force, according to a transcript published by Recode. According to the transcript, Zuckerberg urged a “balanced” discussion around changing that policy.
In Friday’s note, he said the company will now consider approaches to problematic content other than just leaving it up or taking it down.
“I know many of you think we should have labeled the President’s posts in some way last week,” he said, adding that he has started internal discussions on how to approach those questions in the future.
“In general, I worry that this approach has a risk of leading us to editorialize on content we don’t like even if it doesn’t violate our policies, so I think we need to proceed very carefully,” he added.
However, he stopped short of guaranteeing imminent amendments to Facebook’s policies.
“I want to be clear that while we are looking at all of these areas, we may not come up with changes we want to make in all of them,” he said.