June 8, 2020

Scientists funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative are speaking out against Facebook

In a letter, 140+ scientists said the “spread of deliberate misinformation and divisive language” is antithetical to the initiative’s mission.

Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

First Mark Zuckerberg got grilled by his own employees. Over the weekend, the scientists he supports turned up the heat.

More than 140 scientists funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the philanthropic group founded by the Facebook CEO and his wife, Priscilla Chan, said the ‘book hasn’t followed its own policies in regards to President Trump.

Now they want more

In a letter on Saturday, the scientists called a recent Trump post about the protests over George Floyd’s death (“when the looting starts, the shooting starts”) “a clear statement of inciting violence.” 

Twitter added a warning label to a Trump tweet with the same language, but Zuckerberg decided to let the Facebook version of the post stand.

“The spread of deliberate misinformation and divisive language is directly antithetical” to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s mission, the scientists wrote. 

They called on Zuckerberg to “consider stricter policies on misinformation and incendiary language that harms people or groups of people.” 

They may get their wish

For his part, Zuck said in a post on Friday evening that the company would review options for dealing with violating content “aside from the binary leave-it-up or take-it-down decisions.”

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