Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has recently taken to criticizing China’s authorities, including for their censorship of Facebook rival TikTok – and that is not sitting well with the company’s large Chinese employee base.
Zuckerberg, in the past, has refrained from such criticism, apparently in the hope of returning to China’s massive market from where Facebook, along with almost every other US tech giant, has been expelled.
In 2016, Facebook attempted to buy Musical.ly, a lip-syncing app, apparently as a ticket back to China’s market, the report said – but that deal fell through, with the app eventually acquired by ByteDance.
It was precisely China’s censorship of TikTok and his criticism of the app that Zuckerberg addressed in October when he spoke at Georgetown University. The Facebook CEO said Beijing was forcing TikTok to censor content posted on the viral platform in support of the Hong Kong protests.
And that – according to information first published by The Information – has added to the discontent of Facebook’s Chinese employees, particularly those who are supportive of their government and come from mainland China.
The Information cites unnamed employees who referred to Facebook’s internal forums, where criticism of the company as having anti-Chinese tendencies can reportedly be heard.
In addition to Zuckerberg’s statements, Chinese employees are also allegedly unhappy with the comments made by the likes of Peter Thiel, who is a Facebook board member and who earlier in the year accused Google of being “seemingly treasonous” in its ties with China, calling on US security services to investigate the company.
Then, there was the suicide on Facebook’s campus of a Chinese employee, which led to protests over the way the giant was treating its workers, and the way it was handling the case after the fact.
The report, however, doesn’t provide much detail regarding the way Facebook’s Chinese employees might be voicing their discontent, other than on internal message boards. According to Business Insider, Zuckerberg may also simply be trying to get in the good graces of US legislators and regulators – in light of the current geopolitical standoff between the US and China.