Mr. Zuckerberg disagreed that Mr. Trump’s post broke Facebook’s rules, but he said he would dispatch teams to study other options for handling objectionable posts beyond taking them down or leaving them up, according to a person who attended the meeting. Mr. Zuckerberg said he would personally review the options submitted by the teams.
The employee meeting, which was initially scheduled for Thursday and was moved earlier, came a day after some employees participated in a “virtual walkout” opposing the policy decision, with more than a dozen airing their grievances on Twitter. Two software engineers publicly said they quit the company, in part because of what they called Facebook’s failure to enforce its own rules when it comes to Mr. Trump.
|,” said Brandon Dail, a Facebook engineer, in a Twitter post.|
, in some cases publicly, saying Facebook needs to enforce its content rules, rather than make exceptions for powerful political leaders. Some have also said the company should take more responsibility for the way its platform allows incendiary content to spread faster than more moderate views.
“Open and honest discussion has always been a part of Facebook’s culture,” Facebook said in a written statement. “Mark had an open discussion with employees today, as he has regularly over the years. He’s grateful for their feedback.”
Facebook has weathered multiple crises in recent years, especially since the 2016 election, but the current employee turmoil amounts to one of the toughest challenges to Mr. Zuckerberg’s leadership since he co-founded the company 16 years ago.
Since late last week, Mr. Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg have discussed the policy decision with employees, especially black executives and employees, as well as civil-rights leaders. Some participants said they found those meetings largely unsatisfying.
Three civil-rights leaders—Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. and Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change—issued a fiery statement after speaking with Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg late Monday.
“We are disappointed and stunned by Mark’s incomprehensible explanations for allowing the Trump posts to remain up,” they said. “He did not demonstrate understanding of historic or modern-day voter suppression and he refuses to acknowledge how Facebook is facilitating Trump’s call for violence against protesters.”
Timothy Aveni, this week over the policies, said he was disillusioned because he felt Mr. Zuckerberg wasn’t enforcing his own rules. “Mark always told us that he would draw the line at speech that calls for violence,” Mr. Aveni wrote on Facebook. “He showed us on Friday that this was a lie.”
Mr. Zuckerberg ended the 90-minute session by affirming his belief that Facebook was ultimately a force for good in the world. “The net impact of the different things we’re doing in the world is positive,” he told employees, according to a person familiar with his remarks. “I really believe it is.”