comScore Mark Zuckerberg Walks Back Comments on 'State Use of Force'

Mark Zuckerberg Declares ‘Black Lives Matter,’ Announces Facebook Policy Review on ‘State Use of Force’ Posts Days After Employee Walkout Protest

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Photo credit: Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared “Black lives matter” in a personal post on Friday and also appeared to walk back his comments from one week earlier by suggesting that the social media platform would review its policies on posts about “state use of force.”

In a post on his personal Facebook account, Zuckerberg said his company is looking at modifying its policies on a number of fronts, and the first subject he noted included “discussion and threats of state use of force.”

“There are two specific situations under this policy that we’re going to review,” Zuckerberg explained. “The first is around instances of excessive use of police or state force. Given the sensitive history in the US, this deserves special consideration. The second case is around when a country has ongoing civil unrest or violent conflicts. We already have precedents for imposing greater restrictions during emergencies and when countries are in ongoing states of conflict, so there may be additional policies or integrity measures to consider around discussion or threats of state use of force when a country is in this state.”

Notably, just one week ago, Zuckerberg not-so-subtly differentiated his company’s approach to rival Twitter, after the latter’s decision to flag a President Donald Trump tweet that said “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” After that incident, Zuckerberg said he had examined the racist history of that comment but that “we decided to leave it up because the National Guard references meant we read it as a warning about state action, and we think people need to know if the government is planning to deploy force.”

“Our policy around incitement of violence allows discussion around state use of force,” Zuckerberg then added in last week’s post. “Although I think today’s situation raises important questions about what potential limits of that discussion should be.”

Zuckerberg’s hands-off response had ignited strong backlash among former investors and prompted a walkout from some of its employees.

So, by listing that topic as the first subject now under review suggests the Facebook CEO is trying to quite the firestorm and position his company to possibly regulate future incendiary content — even by the president — as the George Floyd protests continue nationwide and the 2020 presidential election looms in the background.

In addition, although Zuckerberg expressed sympathy last week for the alleged murder of George Floyd and other unarmed African-Americans killed by police, he didn’t specifically make common cause with the Black Lives Matter. On Friday, though, Zuckerberg closed his long post by saying: “To members of our Black community: I stand with you. Your lives matter. Black lives matter.”

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