Facebook has taken heat in recent months for their alleged bias in their trending topics moderation and algorithm and faced other allegations of injustice from conservatives and some other groups. However, a leaked internal memo from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seems to show how the company is handling the election internally.
The memo deals with Facebook board member Peter Thiel, a longtime Silicon Valley investor, business owner and currently a supporter of Donald Trump. Thiel has been taking criticism in the tech community for recently donating over $1 million to Trump’s election efforts.
Many Facebook employees and investors questioned Thiel’s continued place on the Facebook Board of Directors. Mark Zuckerberg addressed those concerns in an internal message posted for all Facebook employees.
According to Gizmodo, the posting appears to be legitimate, matching Zuckerberg’s profile on Facebook’s internal social media platform and also matching the action (or non-action) that Facebook has taken regarding Thiel’s position within the company.
Facebook Chief Operation Officer Sheryl Sandburg had previously said, “We have very different board members with very different thoughts. Those people make good board members because they have strong views that they’re not afraid to show them.”
Here is the full text of the memo:
“I want to quickly address the questions and concerns about Peter Thiel as a board member and Trump supporter. We care deeply about diversity. That’s easy to say when it means standing up for ideas you agree with. It’s a lot harder when it means standing up for the rights of people with different viewpoints to say what they care about. That’s even more important.”
“We can’t create a culture that says it cares about diversity and then excludes almost half the country because they back a political candidate. There are many reasons a person might support Trump that do not involve racism, sexism, xenophobia or accepting sexual assault. It may be because they believe strongly in smaller government, a different tax policy, healthcare system, religious issues, gun rights or any other issue where he disagrees with Hillary.
I know there are strong views on the election this year both in the US and around the world. We see them play out on Facebook every day. Our community will be stronger for all our differences — not only in areas like race and gender, but also in areas like political ideology and religion.
That’s ultimately what Facebook is about: giving everyone the power to share our experiences, so we can understand each other a bit better and connect us a little closer together.”
Zuckerberg, nor Facebook, has publicly commented on the leaked memo. However, it is likely Zuckerberg knew the memo would become public, as other past company wide memos from him have done the same in the past.
Here is the screenshot that was leaked to Hacker News from a Facebook employee.