Zuckerberg Blasts Trump for ‘Incendiary Rhetoric’ in Response to Scientists’ ‘Misinformation’ Complaint

In a letter appearing online Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan write that President Donald Trump’s “divisive and incendiary rhetoric” has left them “deeply shaken and disgusted” in a volatile time that they say requires “unity” in the U.S., Fox News reports.

Writing under the letterhead of their Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which focuses on technology solutions to social problems, the couple were responding to last week’s call by more than 270 scientists that Facebook address what the scientists described as “misinformation” appearing on social media.

A copy of the Chan-Zuckerberg letter was posted on Twitter by Recode journalist Teddy Schleifer.

The scientists, many of them funded by the initiative, accused President Trump of being a source of the misinformation.

“Social media platforms, like Facebook, have emerged as primary ways of communicating information,” the scientists wrote to Zuckerberg last Saturday. “While they have allowed dissemination of information across the globe, they also facilitate the spread of misinformation. The spread of news that is not vetted for factual accuracy leads to confusion and a mistrust of experts.”

Later, the scientists wrote, “(W)e were disconcerted to see that Facebook has not followed their own policies in regards to President Trump, who has used the Facebook platform to spread both misinformation and incendiary statements. For example, his statement ‘when the looting starts, the shooting starts’ is a clear statement of inciting violence.”

The scientists – who were referring to a May 29 Trump message that was flagged by Twitter but not by Facebook — then called upon Facebook “to consider stricter policies on misinformation and incendiary language that harms people or groups of people, especially in our current climate that is grappling with racial injustice.”

Trump later denied a Twitter claim that the tweet was “glorifying violence.”

“Looting leads to shooting, and that’s why a man was shot and killed in Minneapolis on Wednesday night – or look at what just happened in Louisville with 7 people shot,” Trump tweeted Friday. “I don’t want this to happen, and that’s what the expression put out last night means. It was spoken as a fact, not as a statement.”

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