Apparently taking a page from Amazon’s book on How to Snub Employees Who Voice Inconvenient Truths, this week Facebook canned an engineer who openly criticized the social media giant’s milquetoast response to ongoing Black Lives Matter protests and President Donald Trump’s incendiary online rhetoric.
Brandon Dail, a user interface engineer working at Facebook’s Seattle office, posted on his now-private Twitter that he was fired after dragging a coworker who had refused to add a statement supporting the Black Lives Matter movement to an open-source document he was publishing, Reuters reports. Dail posted a tweet on June 2 criticizing his coworker, writing that “intentionally not making a statement is already political.”
On Friday, Dail posted on Twitter that he had been fired because of his earlier tweet.
“Today was my last day at Facebook,” he wrote, explaining that he was “let go for calling out an employee’s inaction here on Twitter. I stand by what I said. They didn’t give me the chance to quit.”
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to Reuters that Dail’s explanation was accurate, but declined to comment further. Previously, the company said employees were free to join the walkout without fear of reprisal.
In a follow-up Twitter thread on Friday, Dail acknowledged that his call-out post “violates Facebook’s respectful workplace policy,” but added that he stood by his previous statement.
“I’m not claiming I was unjustly terminated,” he said. “I was fed up with Facebook, the harm it’s doing, and the silence of those complicit (including myself.)”
Dail was also among the dozens of employees who staged a virtual walkout in defiance of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to keep up an incendiary Facebook post the president made about ongoing protests. In a now-infamous post, President Donald Trump denounced demonstrators as “THUGS” and encouraged military personnel to take control, saying that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
The post has since been flagged with a label for “glorifying violence” on Twitter, but Facebook’s taken a controversial hands-off approach in apparent defiance of its ToS and Zuckerberg’s own testimony to Congress about the platform’s moderation policies. While Zuckerberg denounced Trump’s comments as “divisive and inflammatory rhetoric,” he argued that it does not violate Facebook’s policy against inciting violence because the threat of an impending military response is a matter of public interest.
The company’s apparent unwillingness to hold politicians to the same standards as its other users has prompted widespread criticism and internal discord. More than 100 Facebook moderators and scientists funded by the CEO’s Chan Zuckerberg Initiative have sent letters in recent weeks calling out Facebook’s bullshit.
According to posts on Facebook’s internal message board obtained by the Washington Post, many employees supported increased moderation measures and questioned whether Facebook’s lack of action was an indication that it’s in some sort of “abusive relationship” with the president.
Like many of his colleagues, Dail openly criticized Facebook’s inaction on Twitter:
“Disappointed that, again, I need to call this out: Trump’s glorification of violence on Facebook is disgusting and it should absolutely be flagged or removed from our platforms. I categorically disagree with any policy that does otherwise.”