Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dismissed the impact of an advertiser-led boycott targeting the platform, reportedly telling staff during a June 26 meeting that neither he nor the company are going to change policies because of pressure from outside groups.
Capitulating to a group of outsiders’ demands only creates a situation in which a company is subject to future demonstrations, the billionaire explained during a staff meeting, according to a transcript obtained by The Information. Zuckerberg’s comments come as advertisers are pressuring Facebook to remove misinformation and so-called hate speech.
The Information published the transcript of the meeting Wednesday, as more than 500 companies kicked off an advertising boycott. Zuckerberg is reportedly meeting with organizers of the campaign soon.
“You know, we don’t technically set our policies because of any pressure that people apply to us,” Zuckerberg told employees, referring to the boycott. (RELATED: Biden Asks Supporters To Help Him ‘Fix Facebook To Protect Democracy And Beat Trump’)
“I tend to think that if someone goes out there and threatens you to do something, that actually kind of puts you in a box where in some ways it’s even harder to do what they want because now it looks like you’re capitulating,” he said, adding that bending to their will creates a “bad long-term incentives for others to do that [to you] as well.”
Zuckerberg acknowledged that the boycott hurts his empire’s reputation but noted that the “vast majority” of Facebook’s ad revenue comes from small businesses rather than the corporations boycotting. A “big education campaign” is necessary to assure people that “our practices … make us the best at addressing” hate speech, he added, according to the transcript.
“My guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough,” Zuckerberg said of the boycotting advertisers , which include major brands Starbucks and Coca-Cola, among other large corporations. “We’re not gonna change our policies or approach on anything because of a threat to a small percent of our revenue.”
Facebook announced on June 26 a policy update similar to one Twitter now employs, flagging posts from world leaders and politicians that violate policies while leaving them on the platform because they are newsworthy.
Much of the ire stems from comments President Donald Trump posted on the platform, which Facebook has so far refused to censor. Trump wrote in one May 26 post that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” The president clarified that the comments were meant to suggest that he was concerned about the potential for shootings.
Unlike Facebook, Twitter took swift action after Trump suggested in a May 29 tweet that the “THUGS” rioting in Minneapolis are “dishonoring the memory of George Floyd,” a black man who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes, according to video of the incident.
They were not removed or concealed on Facebook because the company is “committed to free expression,” Zuckerberg said in a May 29 Facebook post addressing the posts.
Facebook has not responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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