Mark Zuckerberg personally stepped in this week after a Facebook staffer prompted fury among employees by posting a message about racism and defending the ‘well-intentioned law enforcement officers’ in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting.
The Facebook employee caused outrage after posting the pro-police message in the company’s internal communications channel Workplace last week, the Daily Beast reports.
The employee made a number of arguments in the post, including that racial bias isn’t an issue in policing and that instances of police violence often left out other factors like if the victim was on drugs or resisting arrest.
The post was made just days after police in Wisconsin shot Jacob Blake several times in the back and left him paralyzed, prompting several days of violent protests across the city of Kenosha.
The outrage from employees reacting to the staffer’s post was so strong that Zuckerberg himself stepped in.
Mark Zuckerberg personally stepped in this week after a Facebook staffer prompted fury among employees by posting a message about racism and defending the ‘well-intentioned law enforcement officers’ in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting
The billionaire founder posted a note on the channel on Monday, saying he did not agree with the way employees were talking about issues that are affecting black Americans.
‘We designed our respectful communications policy to allow people to discuss very different viewpoints,’ he said.
‘But I’m concerned that some people are doing that without appreciating the impact their words are having on our black community.’
Zuckerberg said it had prompted the company to develop internal forums on the communications channel that has ‘clear rules and strong moderation’ where controversial topics can be discussed.
‘You won’t be able to discuss highly charged content broadly in open groups,’ he said.
‘As you know, we deeply value expression and open discussion, but I don’t believe people working here should have to be confronted with divisive conversations while they’re trying to work.
‘[L]et me be absolutely clear about our stance as a company: systemic racism is real. It disadvantages and endangers people of color in America and around the world.’
The post was made just days after police in Wisconsin shot Jacob Blake several times in the back (above) and left him paralyzed, prompting several days of violent protests across the city of Kenosha
The employee made a number of arguments in the post, including that racial bias isn’t an issue in policing. In the post, the employee said his heart went out to Blake’s family (pictured) and also to the ‘well-intentioned law enforcement officers who have been victimized’
He went on to say that while it was valuable to to be able to disagree with other employees and the company, Zuckerberg said he was encouraging staffers to do so ‘respectfully’ and with an ‘understanding towards each other’.
The internal communications channel is set up so employees can discuss issues affecting the company.
Multiple Silicion Valley companies, including Google, have such channels.
The initial post that sparked outrage was titled ‘In Support of Law Enforcement and Black Lives’.
The post questioned if racial bias in the criminal justice system existed and suggested race wasn’t an issue in police shootings.
‘My heart goes out to the Blake family. It also goes out to the well-intentioned law enforcement officers who have been victimized by society’s conformity to a lie,’ the employee wrote.
‘What if racial, economic, crime, and incarceration gaps cannot close without addressing personal responsibility and adherence to the law?’
The staffer later updated the post, saying that he had deleted some comments because many responses were ‘unproductive and overwhelming to me’.
He wrote that he never intended to offend his coworkers.
The identity of the employee is not known and Facebook has not commented on the post.