The Facebook CEO said his personal reaction to the tweets concerning the uproar in Minneapolis was negative, but acting as the leader of a social media platform, he was obliged to allow as much freedom of speech online as possible.
Mark Zuckerberg reacted to President Trump’s recent tweets, in which he wrote “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” in response to the violent protests that have continued in Minneapolis over the death of black man George Floyd.
According to Zuckerberg, Trump’s words do not violate Facebook’s policy around incitement of violence.
“[…] our position is that we should enable as much expression as possible unless it will cause imminent risk of specific harms or dangers spelled out in clear policies”, Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook on late Friday. “We decided that this post, which explicitly discouraged violence, also does not violate our policies and is important for people to see.”
Zuckerberg went on to say that people in power should be able to speak out so that their speech is open for public discussion and they could be held accountable for what they say.
“I disagree strongly with how the President spoke about this, but I believe people should be able to see this for themselves, because ultimately accountability for those in positions of power can only happen when their speech is scrutinised out in the open”, he said.
Trump took to Twitter on Friday to comment on the ongoing riot in Minneapolis, where black resident George Floyd died after being held in police custody. Trump said that protesters, who went wild as they smashed police cars and vandalised city property, were disgracing the memory of Floyd and that the authorities should take control of the situation before it becomes worse.
However, many found his words about the “looting” provocative, and Twitter hid the tweet because it was deemed to contain violent content.
….These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2020
Zuckerberg earlier said that social media companies should not act as the “arbiter of truth”, censoring speech online, after Twitter placed “fact-checks” on Trump’s tweets about how mail-in ballots could potentially lead to fraud in the November election.
Trump has accused Twitter of being selective in its censorship, targeting conservative voices ahead of the election.