Facebook Debates Trump's Posts as Hate Speech

Are some of Donald Trump's posts considered hate speech? That's what Facebook employees debated in December according to a Wall Street Journal article, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg decided against censorship. Some employees felt strongly-even threatening to quit-over Trump's posts proposing banning Muslims from entering the country. Trump_ban_muslims_from_u_s-vi-3

A spokesperson for Facebook said, "That context [of a post] can include the value of political discourse. Many people are voicing opinions about this particular content, and it has become an important part of the conversation around who the next U.S. president will be." Another management team member wrote, "In the weeks ahead, we're going to begin allowing more items that people find newsworthy, significant, or important to the public interest-even if they might otherwise violate our standards."

Facebook is in the spotlight partly because Americans increasingly use the site as a news source, and the company has been viewed as left-leaning. Clearly, Facebook is in a tough spot. 

Discussion Starters:

  • What is considered hate speech?
  • Did Mark Zuckerberg make the right decision? Research Facebook's policy for context.
  • Should Facebook adjust its policy? Or is this a decision relevant only to the current election?