In response, dozens of Facebook employees participated in a virtual walkout on Monday, and many more expressed outrage in internal forums and on Twitter. At least two employees have resigned, according to public posts and tweets and conversations with workers.
“Open and honest discussion has always been a part of Facebook’s culture,” spokesperson Liz Bourgeois said in a statement. “Mark had an open discussion with employees today, as he has regularly over the years. He’s grateful for their feedback.”
During the town hall, Zuckerberg did not back down from his decision to keep up the post, according to several employees who were listening but declined to provide their names for fear of retribution.
At least five people have died in nationwide protests that began this weekend. Thousands more have been tear-gassed and injured.
Facebook’s policy says it removes language that incites or facilitates serious violence.
Zuckerberg defended his decision that the post did not constitute a policy violation at the town hall, and he walked employees through different interpretations of Trump’s language.
But Zuckerberg said he would begin to review the transparency of the processes around how pieces of content get escalated to senior managers. He also said that he would be open to reviewing how the company handles content around state violence, a nod to the growing use of force at the protests.
Two of the people who attended said that seemed like a minor concession that did not appear to appease the many angry employees, some of whom repeatedly pointed out in questions that very few black people were attending the town hall.
The decisions at Facebook have prompted at least two employees to publicly resign.
Timothy Aveni, a software engineer according to his Facebook page, said in a public resignation letter that he was disappointed in Zuckerberg’s leadership.
“Mark always told us that he would draw the line at speech that calls for violence,” Aveni wrote. “He showed us on Friday that this was a lie. Facebook will keep moving the goalposts every time Trump escalates, finding excuse after excuse not to act on increasingly dangerous rhetoric.”
Twitter’s decision to flag two of Trump’s erroneous tweets last week for the first time prompted the president to lash back, signing an executive order that called for reexamining a law that has helped shield tech giants from liability for content posted on their sites.
On Tuesday, Washington-based advocacy group Center for Democracy and Technology, which is supported by Facebook, Google and Twitter, filed a lawsuit alleging the executive order threatens to “curtail and chill constitutionally protected speech” across the web.