Facebook employees stage virtual walkout in protest of company’s stance on Trump posts

Some Facebook employees are virtually walking out today to challenge the company’s lack of response to President Donald Trump’s posts pertaining to protests in light of the murder of George Floyd. Employees participating in the protest requested time off and then added an out-of-office response to their emails notifying senders they are protesting, The New York Times reports.

Last week, amid protests in Minneapolis against the police killing Floyd, and unarmed black man, Trump posted on both Twitter and Facebook that, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

As The Washington Post reported, there is a racially-charged history behind that phrase. In the sixties, a white police chief used that same phrase during civil unrest in black neighborhoods in Miami. Trump, however, claims to have not known that.

Twitter’s response was to apply a notice to his tweet, stating that it violated Twitter’s rules about glorifying violence.

Facebook, however, took a different approach. Its response was to do nothing.

On Friday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that the company’s policy “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.” Additionally, Zuckerberg said “we think people need to know if the government is planning to deploy force.”

In addition to the protest today, employees have circulated petitions that call for Facebook to add more diversity to its ranks, while others have threatened to resign if Zuckerberg does not reverse his stance.

“We recognize the pain many of our people are feeling right now, especially our Black community,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “We encourage employees to speak openly when they disagree with leadership. As we face additional difficult decisions around content ahead, we’ll continue seeking their honest feedback.”

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