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More than 140 sceientis, who have benefited from financial support from Facebook CEO’S philanthropic organisation, warned Zuckerberg to “consider stricter policies on misinformation and incendiary language that harms people or groups of people, especially in our current climate that is grappling with racial injustice. The letter targeted a post sent from President Trump amidst the ongoing protests against systemic racism and police brutality. They said: “like many, we were disconcerted to see that Facebook has not followed their own policies in regards to President Trump, who has used the Facebook platform to spread both misinformation and incendiary statements.
For example, his statement ‘when the looting starts, the shooting stars’ is a clear statement of inciting violence.
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The scientists added: “The spread of deliberate misinformation and divisive language is directly antithetical to this goal and we are therefore deeply concerned at the stance Facebook has taken.”
President Trump revealed later he was unaware of the history of the phrase.
However, the President still allowed his original remark to remain on Facebook and Twitter.
On July 2, the Facebook CEO aimed to ease employee tensions due to his non-intervention with Trump’s posts.
Employees criticised Zuckerberg for his decision-making process, recollecting promises the CEO had made to remove content that incites violence or physical harm.
Brandon Dail, an engineer at Facebook said: “It’s crystal clear today that leadership refuses to stand with us.”
A spokesperson for Facebook, Andy Stone responded in a statement to CNN Business that a fair conversation “has always been a part of Facebook’s culture.”
He added: “Mark had an open discussion with employees today, as he had regularly over the years. He’s grateful for their feedback.”
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The meeting could heighten tensions at Facebook, following allegations of right-wing bias from conservatives and widespread criticism in Facebook’s approach condoning the spread of hate and racism.
Jason Shepherd, one of the letter’s signatories, told CNN Sunday that scientists like him had done their job at fronting up against misinformation and cited it as the time to speak out.
Martin Kampmann, PhD, associate professor, University of California, San Francisco also reinforced that the letter wasn’t just about President Trump.
“This is bigger than Trump”, he said.
“We are feeling very strongly about the responsibility social media platforms have because they are the primary way people get their information.”
Kampmann also revealed the number of the letter’s signatories had increased to more than 200 people.
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