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Zuckerberg silent when Trump uses Facebook and Instagram to threaten violence

But two years later, Zuckerberg and Facebook are still struggling with their responsibilities and how to manage one of their best-known users: President Donald Trump.

Although Zuckerberg previously stated any post that “calls for violence” would be a line in the sand – even if it came from a politician – Facebook was silent for hours Friday after Trump was accused of glorifying violence in posts that appeared on its platforms.
At 12:53 PM ET on Friday morning, as cable networks carried images of fires and destructive protests in Minneapolis, the president tweeted: “These THUGS disgrace George Floyd’s memory, and I will not let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the military is with him all the way. All the difficulties and we will take control but when the looting starts the shooting starts. Thanks! “

His phrase “when the looting begins, the shooting begins”

; reflects the language used by a Miami police chief in the late 1960s in the wake of riots. Its use was immediately condemned by a wide range of individuals, from historians to members of competing political campaigns. Former Vice President and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden said Trump “demanded violence against American citizens during a moment of pain for so many.”

Twitter decided to attach a warning label to Trump’s tweet – and an identical tweet that was later posted by the official White House Twitter account – for the first time, indicating that it violated the platform’s rule of glorifying violence.

But the exact same message, which says “looting” will lead to “shooting” and referring to “THUGS,” was posted on Trump’s Facebook account at 1:10 p.m. ET, just minutes after his first tweet. The president’s announcement was also published on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.

As of the publication, the posts remained on both platforms without any label. And although Trump may be more associated with his Twitter account, he still has tens of millions of followers on Facebook. His Facebook posts have been shared more than 47,000 times and had more than 200,000 comments and Instagram posts have more than 300,000 likes.

Facebook did not comment on Friday morning if it would do anything about the post.

Facebook’s passivity to the post so far is just the latest example that highlights a divergent strategy between two of the most prominent social networks in how they handle some of Trump’s most controversial posts.

While Twitter came under fire earlier this week from some Republicans after adding a fact-checking label to Trump’s fake tweets about voice fraud via mail, Facebook did nothing. Instead, Zuckerberg went on Fox News to criticize Twitter.

“We have a different policy than, I think, Twitter on this,” Zuckerberg said, “I just strongly believe that Facebook should not be the truth-breaker for everything people say online.”

Facebook seemed to lean toward its previously declared policy of not fact-checking politicians. But Zuckerberg has said there would be some exceptions to the controversial policy, including the threat of violence.

“Even for politicians, we don’t allow content that causes violence or risks imminent harm – and, of course, we don’t allow voter suppression,” Zuckerberg said in a speech in Washington last year.

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