While one social network took a stand against potentially misleading information and statements glorifying violence posted by President Donald Trump, another held firm to its policy of inaction, despite pressure from both inside and outside of the company.
The first social network is Twitter, which labeled two tweets by Trump Tuesday regarding mail-in ballots with links to additional information from trusted sources, causing the angered president to sign an executive order Thursday in a legally flawed attempt to limit protections for social networks that are part of Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act.
Undaunted, Twitter affixed a label to Trump’s tweet early Friday morning regarding protests, rioting in looting in Minneapolis in response to the death of George Floyd during an arrest, saying that the tweet violated the platform’s rules against glorifying violence—“when the looting starts, the shooting starts”—but would remain accessible because it was in the public interest.
The second social network is Facebook, which has been under pressure for some time already for its reluctance to take action against Trump and others.
The pressure began to build from inside the company, as well, as internal posts leaked to Casey Newton of The Verge Friday showed.
Newton reported that vice president of content policy Monika Bickert wrote on Workplace, the company’s internal version of Facebook, that the Facebook version of Trump’s post on mail-in ballots did not violate the social network’s rules against voter interference because it did not mislead people about registering to vote or voting.
Bickert toed what has become the company line, writing, as reported by Newton, “We do not believe that a private technology company like Facebook should be in the business of vetting what politicians say in the context of a political debate. As is the case with the president’s tweets, speech from candidates and elected officials is highly scrutinized and debated. We think people should be allowed to hear what politicians say, make up their own minds and hold politicians to account.”
Employee comments following Trump’s Friday morning posts about Minneapolis, from the content leaked to Newton, include:
“I have to say I am finding…