(BBC) – Mark Zuckerberg is setting a “dangerous precedent” by allowing a post by Donald Trump to remain on Facebook, a group of civil rights leaders has warned.
Their statement followed a video call with the social media giant’s founder.
The US president’s post, about the widespread protests following the death of George Floyd, was hidden by Twitter last week for “glorifying violence”.
Facebook staff also voiced their anger at their employer, with some staging a “virtual walkout”.
In the post, the president wrote he would “send in the National Guard”, and warned that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”.
Mr Trump shared the same message on Twitter, where it was hidden behind a warning label, prompting an escalating row between Twitter and the White House.
Mr Zuckerberg had previously defended his decision to leave the same post up on Facebook, saying he disagreed with Mr Trump’s words but that people “should be able to see this for themselves”.
After meeting Mr Zuckerberg, three civil rights leaders responded that he was wrong.
“We are disappointed and stunned by Mark’s incomprehensible explanations for allowing the Trump posts to remain up,” they said in a joint statement.
“He did not demonstrate understanding of historic or modern-day voter suppression and he refuses to acknowledge how Facebook is facilitating Trump’s call for violence against protesters.
“Mark is setting a very dangerous precedent for other voices who would say similar harmful things on Facebook.”
Mr Zuckerberg defended his judgement to Facebook staff in a virtual question-and-answer session on Tuesday, according to the New York Times.
It reported the chief executive had said he had made a “tough decision” but the social network’s free speech principles meant that “the right action” was to leave President Trump’s post up.
The newspaper added, however, that some employees had claimed he was acting out of fear of what Republicans might do if Facebook acted otherwise.