A Facebook employee resigned over CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s decision not to censor President Trump’s controversial posts.
Timothy Aveni, whose LinkedIn profile says he worked as a software engineer “fighting misinformation,” announced he was leaving the social media company on Monday because “Trump has enjoyed an exception to Facebook’s Community Standards” that allows him to post “abhorrent, targeted messages that would get any other Facebook user suspended from the platform.”
“Mark always told us that he would draw the line at speech that calls for violence,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “He showed us on Friday that this was a lie. Facebook will keep moving the goalposts every time Trump escalates, finding excuse after excuse not to act on increasingly dangerous rhetoric. Since Friday, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand and process the decision not to remove the racist, violent post Trump made Thursday night, but Facebook, complicit in the propagation of weaponized hatred, is on the wrong side of history.”
Aveni’s resignation came after dozens of employees on Facebook staged a “virtual walkout” over the company’s decision to not take actionon posts by Trump responding to protesters who have taken part in looting, vandalism, and violence amid nationwide demonstrations in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolise who was killed while in police custody.
Zuckerberg, in an interview last week, said that he felt the platform should not be an “arbiter of truth.”
“I cannot keep excusing Facebook’s behavior,” Aveni said. “Facebook is providing a platform that enables politicians to radicalize individuals and glorify violence, and we are watching the United States succumb to the same kind of social media-fueled division that has gotten people killed in the Philippines, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. I’m scared for my country and I’m done trying to justify this.”
The issue of censorship reemerged last week after Twitter slapped a fact-check warning Trump’s tweets about mail-in voting that led to a summary that notes news outlets determined his claims were “unsubstantiated.” Facebook decided not to place any label on the president’s statements, which also shared by his verified Facebook account.