Several senior figures at Facebook declared their strong disagreement online over the weekend, and some employees — working from home because of the pandemic — held a virtual walkout, deciding not to log in to work on Monday in protest.
“Mark is wrong, and I will endeavor in the loudest possible way to change his mind,” said Ryan Freitas, director of product design for Facebook’s News Feed. “I apologize if you were waiting for me to have some sort of external opinion. I focused on organizing 50+ likeminded folks into something that looks like internal change.”
“Giving a platform to incite violence and spread disinformation is unacceptable, regardless who you are or if it’s newsworthy,” wrote Andrew Crow, head of design for Facebook’s Portal product line.
Joining them with individual messages against the passive policy were Design Manager Jason Stirman, Director of Product Management Jason Toff and Product Designer Sara Zhang, who tweeted that “Internally we are voicing our concerns, so far to no avail.”
In a post late Sunday, Zuckerberg said Facebook is committing “an additional $10 million to groups working on racial justice.” Noting that the company “has more work to do to keep people safe and ensure our systems don’t amplify bias,” the CEO did not address the concern surrounding Trump’s posts on the platform.
It’s rare for Facebook employees to speak publicly about internal activity unless they have permission from the communications team. The company in the past has punished and discouraged leaking. Now, Facebook has changed that approach.
“We recognize the pain many of our people are feeling right now, especially our Black community. We encourage employees to speak openly when they disagree with leadership,” a Facebook spokesperson said Monday in a statement. “As we face additional difficult decisions around content ahead, we’ll continue seeking their honest feedback.”