Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is facing rare public outrage from his employees as they rebuked him on a real-time feedback tool over inaction on incendiary remarks posted by President Donald Trump. People tend to believe that freedom of expression exists but it is more of an ‘exploited word’. If social networking sites will not keep a check on the violent or radicalised content then it will reshape the thinking and decision making process of million of users without even becoming unaware that their minds are being controlled by a certain section of people or propagandists.
Trump’s tweet, about the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis, reference the unrest in the city, with the president saying, “Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him the military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Globally, the people will be divided by these microblogging sites. Zuckerberg seams to have shunned its earlier policy of not promoting any content that promotes “sensationalism and polarization” in any manner.
During a company-wide town hall, Zuckerberg defended the company’s decision but was confronted by his employees who reminded him of promises to remove content that calls for violence or that could lead to imminent physical harm.
On May 25, Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody after being arrested. A video of the arrest posted online shows a white police officer pressing on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes while he was laying on his stomach handcuffed and saying he can not breathe. The incident sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and racism, but many turned into riots.
Writing on his Facebook page on Sunday night, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the biggest single donation, that the company will contribute $10 million to “groups working on racial justice,” and telling followers that he’s working with advisers and employees to find organizations that “could most effectively use this right now.”
There are reports that some employtees have left the job citing as unfeasible to “keep excusing Facebook’s behavior.”
On Thursday, Trump signed an executive order that could allow the U.S. government to take oversight of political speech online.
Facebook needs to “ensure our systems don’t amplify bias,” Zuckerberg wrote.
“I know that $10 million can’t fix this. It needs sustained, long term effort,” he added. “This week has made it clear how much more there is to do.”
Zuckerberg said that though Trump’s tweet provoked in him a “visceral negative reaction,” he felt Facebook was dedicated to “free expression.”
On the contrary, Twitter acted and termed Trump’s violent remarks on microblogging site as violating the platform’s rules on “glorifying violence.”
Trump’s tweets on Thursday that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”.
But recently, it was reported by the Wallstreet Journal that Facebook have shelved their own research to understand how the social media platform shaped user behaviour and how the company might address potential harms of polarizing its users.
Even a survey revealed that Americans were drifting apart on fundamental societal issues well before the creation of social media, decades of Pew Research Center surveys have shown. But 60 per cent of Americans think the country’s biggest tech companies are helping further divide the country, while only 11 per cent believe they are uniting it, according to a Gallup-Knight survey in March.
Fixing the polarization problem would be difficult. Most importantly, how it prioritized “user engagement”–a metric involving time spent, likes, shares and comments which had been the lodestar of its system for years..
When the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) became a prominent threat for the world in 2014 after it seized large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq and When Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was recruiting, propagating their views on social networking sites , twitter and facebook, on the orders of leaders of some countries, acted strongly and unitedly by removing the violent and radicalised content, fearing that it will turn the society more violent but when the leaders of some countries promote radicalism or support violence than the so called heads of these social sites shows their incapabilities to act.
When the world is struggling to develop a vaccine to treat covid 19, social-media giants have cracked down on misinformation on novel coronavirus, promoting bogus Covid-19 cures and conspiracy theories about the origins of the coronavirus.
It is the most opportune time that these social-media giants focus on products that increase empathy, understanding.