In late 2016, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shut down an employees’ anonymous online group, called Facebook Anon, that was largely supportive of Donald Trump because Zuckerberg claimed members harassed others.
According to Business Insider, “While initially pitched in 2015 as a way for employees to voice their concerns, the nature of the group became more political around last year's election. A poster advertising the group on Facebook’s campus ahead of the election said, ‘Trump supporters welcome.’”
Gizmodo reported in 2016:
Facebook workers routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network’s influential “trending” news section, according to a former journalist who worked on the project. This individual says that workers prevented stories about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site’s users.
Facebook fired back:
We take allegations of bias very seriously. Facebook is a platform for people and perspectives from across the political spectrum. Trending Topics shows you the popular topics and hashtags that are being talked about on Facebook. There are rigorous guidelines in place for the review team to ensure consistency and neutrality. These guidelines do not permit the suppression of political perspectives. Nor do they permit the prioritization of one viewpoint over another or one news outlet over another. These guidelines do not prohibit any news outlet from appearing in Trending Topics.
Responding to the reports surrounding Facebook Anon, Facebook Head of People Lori Goler told Business Insider:
Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together, and a cornerstone of our culture is being open. The FB Anon internal Facebook group violated our Terms of Service, which require people who use Facebook (including our employees) to use an authentic identity on our platform. Last year we disabled any anonymous internal groups or pages within Facebook, and reminded our people of the places at our company where they can have discussions about issues that matter to them, openly or confidentially as appropriate.
Business Insider added:
Facebook Anon first became controversial inside Facebook when employees used it to debate the Black Lives Matter movement in early 2016, according to a former group member. It was around that same time that Zuckerberg denounced employees who crossed out ‘black lives matter' and wrote 'all lives matter' on the walls of Facebook’s California headquarters.
Facebook Anon was shut down in December 2016; Zuckerberg offered his explanation at an all-hands meetings three months later. Soon after Zuckerberg's appearance, a poster was put up in Facebook’s campus showing the dates of the commencement of Facebook Anon and its termination, captioned, “Silenced, but not silent.”