A virtual walk-out and a mass boycott don't seem to have compelled Mark Zuckerberg to seriously reconsider his questionable approaches toward misinformation and political strife on Facebook. Now, according to BuzzFeed News, Facebook employees worry that Zuckerberg does not have an effective modus operandi in place that could adequately address the falsehoods spread by Donald Trump on the network, especially with the 2020 presidential race right around the corner.
One of the Facebook employees — cited anonymously to avoid professional repercussions or retribution — told BuzzFeed News that Facebook workers were worried that the platform could be used in a "problematic scenario" to "aggressively undermine" the American presidential election. These concerns have a legitimate basis given that Trump himself has openly told the press and public that he would not readily accept defeat in the 2020 presidential race. When asked by employees what Facebook's strategy would be if Trump disputed the election results, Zuckerberg responded:
This is where we're in unprecedented territory with the president saying some of the things that he's saying that I find quite troubling. We're thinking through what policy may be appropriate here. This is obviously going to be a sensitive thing to work through.
Other worries plague employees — In another all-hands meeting, Facebook employees sought Zuckerberg's two cents on right-wing Breitbart News' habitual sharing of medically unsound and false COVID-19 information, including telling people that there's no point in wearing masks. Initially, BuzzFeed News reports, Zuckerberg "danced around the question" only to ultimately state that the company's news tab would be shelved if it got two reports of false news in the span of 90 days.
"So by the policies that we have," Zuckerberg reportedly said, "which by the way I think are generally pretty reasonable on this, it doesn't make sense to remove them." Other complaints were related to how, per Facebook employees, right-wing pages reportedly received more boosts, engagement, and preferential treatment from the company. One of the Facebook employees, a senior engineer, highlighted this issue and later on left the company on "not voluntary" terms.
The divide grows wider — In the past, Facebook has struggled with rooting out misinformation on the public health front as well as shutting down ads where politicians, including the president of the United States, have openly called for armed violence against protestors. Naturally, the company culture has caused rifts, isolation, and frustration within top to bottom ranks. "Personally," one employee told BuzzFeed News, "this makes me so angry and ashamed of this company." We can expect to hear more from alienated workers in the future given that Zuckerberg has shown remarkably little interest in actual improvement.