Business Insider is reporting that an anonymous Facebook group was shut down by CEO Mark Zuckerberg in late 2016 because it attracted many conservative voices that often discussed Donald Trump and debated Black Lives Matter.
The group began in 2015 as an employee discussion group to air concerns within the company, but the content turned political as the election drew closer. Zuckerberg didn’t like the direction it was going and said it had turned into harassment.
Before the group was axed, and just before the election, a sign was posted at Facebook headquarters in California that said the group, Facebook Anon, was welcoming of Trump supporters:
Over the last year-and-a-half, Zuckerberg has made big changes to his dorm room invention, flagging posts as “fake news” and targeting conservative media in particular and censoring those kinds of posts. Zuckerberg also made headlines when he saw that someone wrote “All Lives Matter” on a community white board at the campus and promptly lectured employees that saying that is “disrespectful” and “malicious.”
Business Insider reports:
The group was created as a side project by a handful of employees in early 2015… [and] was often used for talking about less controversial topics, like the ethics of taking home extra dinner from the company cafeteria.
The tone of Facebook Anon became increasingly political as the 2016 presidential campaign season began, the people said, and as right-leaning employees began to see the group as a safe haven.
“There was a feeling that everyone at the company was a Democrat or left-leaning,” one former employee, who asked to remain anonymous, told Business Insider, while another said that management didn’t envision “the wildfire around the election.”
"I don’t think they really thought there would be too many people on the Trump side," the former employee said.
Trump was elected in November and on December 13, Zuckerberg pulled the plug on the group and told employees the subject matter “wouldn’t be tolerated.”
And in the same spirit of the Trump supporters welcome sign, someone from the group got in the last word by hanging a sign of the start and end dates of the group with the message, “Silenced, but not silent.”