Mark Zuckerberg, October 25, 2019. - Mark Lennihan / AP / SIPA

The controversy swells within the social network. Faced with criticism from some of his employees, Mark Zuckerberg spoke on videoconference Tuesday to defend his decision not to moderate controversial messages from Donald Trump last week on Facebook.

The founder of the platform answered questions from his employees during a weekly videoconference meeting, without changing his mind. According to the New York Times , he told them that he had spoken to Donald Trump after his decision, and told him that he had found the rhetoric of his Friday post "dangerous and inflammatory."

A message moderated by Twitter

Unlike Twitter, the platform has decided not to report a message from the US president - "The looting will be immediately greeted by bullets" - about the protests denouncing the death of George Floyd, which were interspersed with riots. The death of this African American, asphyxiated by a white police officer in Minneapolis, sparked outrage in the United States.

Several employees expressed their dissatisfaction with their boss this weekend and participated in an online strike on Monday. Some have even chosen to resign. They believe that even if Facebook has decided not to exercise the slightest censorship on comments made by politicians, those of the tenant of the White House in this case exceed the limits - those of incitement to violence.

A "difficult" decision

Mark Zuckerberg argued that messages should not be deleted, in the name of freedom of expression and the public's interest in learning. The decision was "difficult" when it came to a message whose content personally shocked him, Zuckerberg told some 25,000 employees who had logged in, according to Recode, which obtained a recording of the call. .

"I knew the stakes were very high, and that many people would be upset if we decided not to do so," said the platform's CEO, quoted by Recode. But, according to Bloomberg, he also said during this tense exchange that Facebook was examining the possibility of modifying its moderation policy on such content, and of reporting it rather than deleting it altogether. A Facebook spokesperson told the New York Times that Zuckerberg was "grateful" to the employees for initiating the debate.

According to the Wall Street Journal , the Facebook CEO criticized, without naming them, the companies that expressed solidarity with the protesters and the Black Lives Matter movement. “I think it's important to say it (…) but I don't think it takes special courage to say these things when there is a huge crisis. What I hope people will see are the actions that other leaders and I have taken "on this subject of discrimination," he said according to a participant in the exchange on Tuesday.


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