- Facebook is taking no action against any of the messages from Donald Trump who warned of “shooting” in Minneapolis following protests.
- Twitter previously said the post on its site violated its “glorification of violence” rules and issued a warning.
- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he had a “negative visceral reaction” to Trump’s rhetoric.
- However, this does not violate Facebook rules, he said.
- The phrase “when looting begins, filming begins” was once used by a southern police chief during the civil rights unrest in the 1960s, but Trump has since professed ignorance of it.
- Do you work on Facebook? Contact this reporter at [email protected] or 650-636-6268.
Mark Zuckerberg has broken his silence on Donald Trump’s social media posts warning of “shooting” by protesters in Minneapolis to say that although he had a “negative visceral reaction”, it does not violate the rules of Facebook and will not be deleted.
The social network was involved in a controversy storm over the past day, after the President published on several social media sites that “when the looting begins, the filming begins”, in response to lively protests in Minneapolis about the death of George Floyd. Twitter has affixed a warning label to Trump’s tweet, saying he broke his rules “Glorify the violence,” but Facebook took no immediate action against Trump’s message on its platform, remaining silent and ignoring numerous requests for clarification from the press and his own employees.
Friday afternoon, the company’s founder and CEO, 36, finally weighed in on a public Facebook post – saying the post did not violate Facebook’s incentive policies to violence. “I had a hard time responding to the president’s tweets and messages all day. Personally, I have a negative visceral reaction to this kind of confrontational and inflammatory rhetoric, “he writes.
“I know a lot of people are upset that we have left the president’s positions, but our position is that we should allow as much expression as possible unless it causes an imminent risk of damage or specific dangers set out in clear policies. We looked very closely at the station that discussed the protests in Minnesota… National Guard references meant that we read it as a warning about state action, and we think people should know if the government plans to deploy force. “
The phrase “when looting begins, filming begins” was historically used by a Miami police chief in the 1960s during civil unrest, reported NBC News, as well as by segregationist George Wallace. Trump then said he ignored the story – saying his messages were not a threat of violence but an assertion that looting can be accompanied by shooting incidents. “Looting leads to shooting, and that’s why a man was shot dead in Minneapolis on Wednesday night – or look at what just happened in Louisville with 7 people shot dead. I don’t want that to happen, and that is what the expression said last night means, ” he tweeted.
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Here is Mark Zuckerberg’s full post:
It has been an incredibly difficult week after a series of difficult weeks. The murder of George Floyd has shown once again that for black people in America, simply to exist means to risk your life. This comes weeks after the murder of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and in the middle of Covid having a disproportionate impact on the black community in the United States. It continues a long and devastating history of human loss dating back centuries. I know that the conversations between our friends, colleagues and black neighbors are incredibly painful. As Americans, this concerns us all and we all have an obligation to help fight inequality in the way justice is served. This is something that matters to me deeply.
I had a hard time responding to the president’s tweets and messages all day. Personally, I have a negative visceral reaction to this kind of conflicting and inflammatory rhetoric. This moment calls for unity and calm, and we need empathy for the people and communities who are suffering. We must unite as a country to seek justice and break this cycle.
But I am responsible for reacting not only personally but as the leader of an institution committed to freedom of expression. I know many people are upset that we have left the office of President, but our position is that we should allow as much expression as possible, unless there is an imminent risk of harm or danger specific statements in clear policies. We took a close look at the message about the protests in Minnesota to see if it violated our policies. Although the post has a disturbing historical reference, we decided to leave it aside because the National Guard references meant that we read it as a warning about state action, and we think people should find out if the government plans to deploy force. Our policy on incitement to violence allows for a discussion of state use of force, although I think the current situation raises important questions about the potential limits of this discussion. The president then posted again, saying the original message warned of the possibility that looting could lead to violence. We decided that this message, which explicitly discouraged violence, also did not violate our policies and was important to see. Unlike Twitter, it is not our policy to put out a warning to posts that may incite violence, because we believe that if a post incites violence, it should be deleted, whether it is worthy of interest or not, even if it comes from a politician. We have been in touch with the White House today to also explain these policies.
There are lively debates about how we apply our policies at times like this. I know people are frustrated when we take a long time to make these decisions. These are tough decisions and, just like today, the content we leave behind is often deeply shocking. We try to think about all the consequences and we keep our policies constantly under review because the context is constantly changing. People may agree or disagree on where we should draw the line, but I hope they understand that our overall philosophy is that it is better to have this discussion open, especially when the stakes are so high. I don’t agree at all with the way the president talked about it, but I think people should be able to see it for themselves, because at the end of the day, the responsibility of people in positions of power cannot only happen when their speech is examined out loud.