Mark Zuckerberg explained why Facebook is not removing Trump’s posts inciting violence on George Floyd protestors.
“I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right,” he wrote. “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!” His words, in particular the phrase “when the looting starts the shooting starts,” invoked fear and outrage in so many Americans for their threatening and violence-inciting nature. Although Trump has since claimed that what he meant to say was that the rioters would start shooting each other once the looting starts, his words were so alarming that Twitter actually hid the tweet that included the aforementioned phrase, a quote attributed to famed segregationist and Miami Police Chief Walter Headley in 1967.
However, his posts on Facebook remain without even a warning of sensitive material. On Friday (May 29th), Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained why this is the case. “I know many people are upset that we’ve left the President’s posts up, but our position is that we should enable as much expression as possible unless it will cause imminent risk of specific harms or dangers spelled out in clear policies,” Zuckerberg explained. “We looked very closely at the post that discussed the protests in Minnesota to evaluate whether it violated our policies. Although the post had a troubling historical reference, we decided to leave it up because the National Guard references meant we read it as a warning about state action, and we think people need to know if the government is planning to deploy force. Our policy around incitement of violence allows discussion around state use of force, although I think today’s situation raises important questions about what potential limits of that discussion should be.”