This story, which broke a few hours ago, portrays (((Mark Zuckerberg))) as a champion of free speech. Is this even possible?
Facebook employees reportedly pushed to censor posts from Donald Trump until CEO Mark Zuckerberg intervened, according to The Wall Street Journal’s Deepa Seetharaman.
Some employees allegedly said that a post on Trump’s Facebook page from December about the presidential candidate’s call to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. should be taken down as hate speech. Zuckerberg then personally ruled “that it would be inappropriate to censor the candidate,” the report notes.
“When we review reports of content that may violate our policies, we take context into consideration,” a Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider in response to the report. “That context can include the value of political discourse. Many people are voicing opinions about this particular content and it has become an important part of the conversation around who the next U.S. president will be. For those reasons, we are carefully reviewing each report and surrounding context relating to this content on a case by case basis.”
The Trump campaign couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
Tensions are high among Silicon Valley tech companies like Facebook with connections to Trump. A Facebook memo by Zuckerberg to employees was recently leaked in which the company founder answered internal “concerns” about board member Peter Thiel’s support of the Republican candidate.
“We care deeply about diversity,” Zuckerberg wrote in the memo. “That’s easy to say when it means standing up for ideas you agree with. It’s a lot harder when it means standing up for the rights of people with different viewpoints to say what they care about. That’s even more important.”
Facebook coincidentally announced on Friday that it’s taking steps to allow more potentially offensive posts “that people find newsworthy, significant, or important to the public interest” in the News Feed.
As a developing story, the wise person should take a healthily skeptical view of the role of Zuck as a defender of free speech. If he vetoed the wishes of FB employees, he surely had shekels in mind.
Censoring Trump would cost him some of them thar’ shekels, which is generally unacceptable to the tribe.