Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Saturday tried to address growing unrest among the employees over the poor handling of controversial posts by US President Donald Trump, saying the company has started a workstream for building products to advance racial justice.
Several current and former Facebook employees have criticized Zuckerberg's inaction over controversial posts from the US President on glorifying violence, calling him to start fact-checking world leaders and labeling harmful posts.
In a memo, the Facebook CEO said that he believes his platforms would help "overcome racial injustice in America and around the world".
"I stand with you. Your lives matter. Black lives matter," he stressed.
The memo comes at a time when Facebook employees have slammed Zuckerberg for not taking action on posts by Trump in the wake of the death of African-American George Floyd. There have been some resignations too at the company over his inaction.
"I know many of you think we should have labeled the President's posts in some way last week. Our current policy is that if content is actually inciting violence, then the right mitigation is to take that content down -- not let people continue seeing it behind a flag," Zuckerberg said, adding that there is no exception to this policy for politicians or newsworthiness.
In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg said, " As we continue to process this difficult moment, I want to acknowledge the real pain expressed by members of our community. I also want to acknowledge that the decision I made last week has left many of you angry, disappointed and hurt. So I am especially grateful that, despite your heartfelt disagreement, you remain focused on taking positive steps to move forward. That can't be easy, so I just want to say I hear you and I'm grateful."
While Twitter put out a "public interest notice" on Trump tweet for violating the platform's policies about glorifying violence, Facebook refused to take action when the tweet was cross-posted to its platform.
He said that the company is also going to review its existing policies, including how its treats content dealing with the use of police or state force and treats content in countries where there is civil unrest or violent conflicts.
"We're going to review our policies allowing discussion and threats of state use of force to see if there are any amendments we should adopt," he said, adding that given the sensitive history in the US, "this deserves special consideration".
"We already have precedents for imposing greater restrictions during emergencies and when countries are in ongoing states of conflict, so there may be additional policies or integrity measures to consider around discussion or threats of state use of force when a country is in this state," he noted.
Zuckerberg mentioned that the company is going to review its policies around voter suppression to make sure it is taking into account the realities of voting in the midst of a pandemic.
Additionally, he said Facebook is going to work on establishing a clearer and more transparent decision-making process.
"More broadly, we're going to review whether we need to change anything structurally to make sure the right groups and voices are at the table -- not only when decisions affecting a certain group are being made," Zuckerberg said.