Facebook engineer quits over Zuckerberg’s policy on Trump posts

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A Facebook employee has resigned in protest of Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to allow controversial posts from President Trump to remain on the site.

In a public post on LinkedIn, software engineer Timothy Aveni said he is on the lookout for a new job thanks to “Facebook’s continued refusal to act on the president’s bigoted messages aimed at radicalizing the American public.”

“I’m scared for my country, and I’m watching my company do nothing to challenge the increasingly dangerous status quo,” Aveni wrote.

Aveni lashed out on Facebook as well, slamming the company for “moving the goalposts every time Trump escalates, finding excuse after excuse to not act on increasingly dangerous rhetoric.”

Facebook declined to comment.

The resignation comes a day after hundreds of Facebook employees participated in a “virtual walkout” to protest Zuckerberg’s decision to not slap a warning label on a Trump post that included the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” That post was made Friday in response to clashes between protesters and cops in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police.

Zuckerberg has said that while he finds the remarks “deeply offensive,” the company decided they did not violate its policy against “incitements to violence.” Twitter has also taken heat for hiding Trump’s tweet behind a warning label. Twitter has said the tweet violated its rules against “glorifying violence,” but is being left up as a “public service exception.”

Aveni may be one of several Facebook employees to resign in protest, according to New York Times reporter Mike Isaac, who tweeted that other employees had posted about their resignations on their private Facebook pages.

Zuckerberg and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on Monday night also held a Zoom call with the leaders of three civil rights groups — Vanita Gupta of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Rashad Robinson from Color of Change and Sherrilyn Ifill from the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund — to try to explain the company’s decision, but were unsuccessful.

“We are disappointed and stunned by Mark’s incomprehensible explanations for allowing the Trump posts to remain up,” the trio said in a statement. “He did not demonstrate understanding of historic or modern-day voter suppression and he refuses to acknowledge how Facebook is facilitating Trump’s call for violence against protesters.”

“Mark is setting a very dangerous precedent for other voices who would say similar harmful things on Facebook,” they added.

Facebook shares were down 0.5 percent Tuesday afternoon, at $230.78.


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