Over 140 scientists who have received funding from the philanthropic group, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, sent Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Saturday calling the social networking company out for its recent stance on President Donald Trump’s inflammatory posts on police brutality protesters.
“As scientists, we are dedicated to investigating ways to better our world,” reads the letter obtained by . “The spread of deliberate misinformation and divisive language is directly antithetical to this goal and we are therefore deeply concerned at the stance Facebook has taken.” The letter specifically calls out Trump’s social media post which said “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” defining it as a “clear statement of inciting violence.”
Facebook and Zuckerberg himself have been criticized in recent days for defending the company’s decision to keep the post on its website. The inaction on the social networking site’s part was in direct conflict with the response of other platforms, such as Twitter which behind a warning label.
“We urge you to consider stricter policies on misinformation and incendiary language that harms people or groups of people, especially in our current climate that is grappling with racial injustice,” the letter concluded. Also among its signatories were scientists funded by the Zuckerberg Biohub, which has recently been working on expanding testing for the coronavirus.
Employees at Facebook have against the company’s decision to leave up Trump’s tweet. Some even staged a digital . At least two Facebook engineers from the company outright. One software developer turning down a Facebook recruiter’s offer for a job opportunity with the company.
“The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is a philanthropic organization started by Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg that is separate from Facebook,” said a spokesperson for the group in a statement provided to the Post. “We have a separate staff, separate offices, and a separate mission: to build a more inclusive, just, and healthy future for everyone through our work in science, education, and on issues related to justice and opportunity. We are grateful for our staff, partners and grantees in this work and we respect their right to voice their opinions, including on Facebook policies.”
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was originally founded in 2015 by the Facebook CEO and his wife, Priscilla. The organization has pledged $3 billion in order to “eradicate all disease.”
In the letter, the scientists also highlighted another important mission defined by the organization, one that runs in contrast to what Facebook’s policies facilitate on its platform. That mission is to use technology “to help solve some of our toughest challenges — from preventing and eradicating disease, to improving learning experiences for kids, to reforming the criminal justice system” and “to build a more inclusive, just, and healthy future for everyone.”
These scientists sure do have a good point.