Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg held a last-minute town hall Tuesday to address mounting outrage among employees who believe the company should take action on a controversial post by President Trump.

Trump last week tweeted that “when the looting begins, the shooting begins,” which many people interpreted as a call for violence in nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd. Twitter put a warning label on the tweet, flagging it as violent content that broke the company’s policies but was being left up because it was newsworthy. Facebook declined to take any action on a similar post on its site.

In response, dozens of Facebook employees participated in a virtual walkout Monday, and many more expressed outrage in internal forums and on Twitter. At least two people who say they are employees have resigned, according to public posts and tweets and conversations with workers.

During the town hall, Zuckerberg did not back down from his decision to keep up the post, according to several employees who were listening but declined to provide their names for fear of retribution.

At least five people have died in nationwide protests that began this weekend. Thousands more have been tear-gassed and injured.

Facebook’s policy says it removes language that incites or facilitates serious violence.


Zuckerberg defended his decision that the post did not constitute a policy violation at the town hall, and he walked employees through different interpretations of Trump’s language.

But Zuckerberg said he would review the transparency of the processes around how pieces of content get escalated to senior managers. He also said he would be open to reviewing how the company handles content regarding state violence, a nod to the growing use of force at the protests.

Two of the people who attended said that seemed like a minor concession that did not appear to appease the many angry employees, some of whom repeatedly pointed out in questions that very few black people were attending the town hall.

The decisions at Facebook have prompted some people who say they are employees to publicly resign. Facebook did not immediately respond to requests to verify those people’s status.

Timothy Aveni, a software engineer according to his Facebook page, said in a public resignation letter that he was disappointed in Zuckerberg’s leadership.

“Mark always told us that he would draw the line at speech that calls for violence,” Aveni wrote. “He showed us on Friday that this was a lie. Facebook will keep moving the goalposts every time Trump escalates, finding excuse after excuse not to act on increasingly dangerous rhetoric.”

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