In their first direct criticism of US President Donald Trump over his controversial posts, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan said they are deeply shaken by his divisive rhetoric at a time when people around the world are protesting against the death of African-American George Floyd.
Replying to over 270 scientists funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative who urged them to curb misinformation and hateful posts like the one from Trump on glorifying violence on his platforms, the couple said this is an extraordinary painful inflection time in their nation’s history and they take their concerns seriously and to heart.
“We are deeply shaken and disgusted by President Trump’s divisive and incendiary rhetoric at a time when our nation so desperately needs unity,” Zuckerberg and Chen wrote in the letter that was shared on Twitter.
The scientists who signed the letter addressed to them included professors from Stanford, Harvard, and a Nobel laureate, among others, reports The Verge.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is the philanthropic arm founded by Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan in 2015.
“We were disconcerted to see that Facebook has not followed their own policies in regards to President Trump. For example, his statement ‘when the looting starts, the shooting starts’ is a clear statement of inciting violence,” the scientists wrote in the letter.
The letter further said that allowing Trump to use Facebook “to spread both misinformation and incendiary statements was not only a violation of Facebook’s policies but “directly antithetical to CZI’s goal of building a more inclusive, just and healthy future for everyone”.
Zuckerberg this month tried to dissuade the growing unrest among the employees over the poor handling of controversial posts by Trump, saying the company has started a workstream for building products to advance racial justice.
Several current and former Facebook employees criticized Zuckerberg’s inaction over controversial posts from the US President on glorifying violence, calling him to start fact-checking world leaders and labelling 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.