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Facebook Employees Begin to Revolt

Sheera Frenkel, Mike Isaac, and Cecilia Kang, reporting for The New York Times:

Mr. Zuckerberg’s post last week explaining his decision on Mr. Trump’s tweets frustrated many inside the company. More than a dozen Facebook employees tweeted that they disagreed with Mr. Zuckerberg’s decision, including the head of design of Facebook’s portal product, Andrew Crow.

An engineer for the platform, Lauren Tan, posted about the situation on Friday. “Facebook’s inaction in taking down Trump’s post inciting violence makes me ashamed to work here,” Ms. Tan wrote in a tweet. “Silence is complicity.”

Two senior Facebook employees told The New York Times that they had informed their managers that they would resign if Mr. Zuckerberg did not reverse his decision. Another person, who was supposed to start work at the company next month, told Facebook they were no longer willing to accept a position at the company because of Mr. Zuckerberg’s decision.

I don’t know why the Times linked to Tan’s tweet but not Crow’s:

Censoring information that might help people see the complete picture is wrong. But giving a platform to incite violence and spread disinformation is unacceptable, regardless who you are or if it’s newsworthy. I disagree with Mark’s position and will work to make change happen.

I’ve seen some people making hay over this Times story, based on the framing of it as a “virtual walkout”. Forget about the “walkout”. What’s important here are Facebook employees speaking out, unequivocally. Interesting too that they’re using Twitter to express their dissent.

Facebook’s real risk here, as I see it, is getting branded as the social network for racists. Talent retention is the top challenge for every tech company. We’re going through history, right now, and Facebook is on the wrong side of it. No one wants that on their resume.

Monday, 1 June 2020