Facebook fires employee who protested its inaction on Trump tweets

FILE PHOTO: A Facebook logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A Facebook Inc (FB.O) employee who criticized Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s decision not to take action against inflammatory posts by U.S. President Donald Trump this month said on Friday that the social media company had fired him.

Brandon Dail, whose social media profiles describe him as a user interface engineer in Seattle, wrote on Twitter that he was dismissed for publicly challenging a colleague’s silence on the controversy that prompted a rare staff protest at Facebook.

Dozens of employees, including Dail, abandoned their desks and tweeted objections to Zuckerberg’s handling of Trump’s posts. Trump’s posts included the racially charged phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” in reference to protests against racism and police brutality held after the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis.

Twitter (TWTR.N) affixed a warning label to the same post, saying it glorified violence. Facebook opted to leave the post untouched.

Zuckerberg stood by his decision at a tense all-hands meeting with employees that week. During the meeting, Dail tweeted that it was “crystal clear today that leadership refuses to stand with us.”

Dail again voiced objections this week after both Facebook and Twitter declined to take action against a Trump post that contained an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory about Martin Gugino, a 75-year-old protester who was critically injured by police in Buffalo, New York.

“Trump’s attack on Martin Gugino is despicable and a clear violation [of] Facebook’s anti-harassment rules. It’s again extremely disappointing that we (and Twitter) haven’t removed it,” he said.

Facebook and Dail did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Reporting by Katie Paul; Editing by Will Dunham

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