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Scholars supported by Zuckerberg’s foundation are urging him to change his stance on Trump positions



The group called on Zuckerberg to “consider stricter policies for misinformation and burning language that harm people or groups of people, especially in our current climate that is struggling with racial injustice.”

Three of the people who signed the letter told CNN on Sunday that they are very grateful for the support of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), but said the goals of CZI, including the use of technology to create a better world, were contradicted of Zuckerberg’s actions on Facebook.
CZI was created by Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan in 2015.
The letter pointed to a post from Trump sent during the ongoing protests against racial injustice, “like many we were upset to see that Facebook has failed to follow their own policies regarding President Trump, who has used the Facebook platform to spread both incorrect information and burning statements. For example, his statement “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”
; is a clear statement to encourage violence. “

“As scientists, we are dedicated to exploring ways to improve our world. We are proud to be CZI awards and to help realize CZI’s mission, which is to” use technology to help solve some of our most difficult challenges – from preventing and eradicating disease, improving learning experiences for children, reforming the criminal justice system ‘and’ building a more inclusive, equitable and healthy future for all. ‘

But the researchers warned: “The prevalence of deliberate misinformation and divisive language is directly antithetical to this goal, and we are therefore deeply concerned about the position taken by Facebook.”

The letter was first reported by The Washington Post.

One of the letter’s signatories, Jason Shepherd, PhD, an associate professor at the University of Utah, told CNN on Sunday that he believed researchers like him had not done a good enough job of standing against false information and that it was the time to speak out.

Martin Kampmann, PhD, associate professor at the University of California, San Francisco, who helped organize the letter, said it wasn’t all about Trump. “This is bigger than Trump; we feel very strongly about the responsibility that social media platforms have because they are the primary way people get their information.”

Kampmann said the letter signers had grown since it was sent on Saturday to more than 200 people supported by CZI.

Jeff MacGregor, a spokesman for CZI, pointed out in a statement that the organization is separate from Facebook. “We have a separate staff, separate offices and a separate mission: to build a more inclusive, equitable and healthy future for all through our work in science, education and on justice and opportunity issues. We are grateful to our staff , partners and beneficiaries of this work, and we respect their right to express their opinions, including on Facebook policies. “

Facebook did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment Sunday.

Another of the letter’s signatories, Debora S. Marks, PhD, associate professor at Harvard Medical School, told CNN that she hoped her and her colleagues’ suggestions would be taken seriously by Zuckerberg and Facebook. “Go help save the world, Facebook,” she said.


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