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Facebook employees fought to have Donald Trump's posts removed for hate speech

Donald Trump's posts on Facebook were flagged by users and employees for qualifying as hate speech, employees told The Wall Street Journal. In an article published Friday, it was revealed Facebook employees wanted the Republican candidate's posts pulled from the site, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg ultimately ruled against their removal, saying it would send the wrong message to censor a presidential candidate.

The discussion began when Trump posted a link on Dec. 7, 2015, to a campaign statement that called for "preventing Muslim immigration." Zuckerberg ruled later that month not to remove the post, even as some employees complained that the decision amounted to a special exception for Trump:

Users flagged the December content as hate speech, a move that triggered a review by Facebook's community-operations team, with hundreds of employees in several offices world-wide. Some Facebook employees said in internal chat rooms that the post broke Facebook's rules on hate speech as detailed in its internal guidelines, according to people familiar with the matter.

Content reviewers were asked by their managers not to remove the post, according to some of the people familiar. Facebook's head of global policy management, Monika Bickert, later explained in an internal post that the company wouldn't take down any of Mr. Trump's posts because it strives to be impartial in the election season, according to people who saw the post. [The Wall Street Journal]

"Banning a U.S. presidential candidate is not something you do lightly," a person familiar with the discussion said. Facebook has struggled to appear nonpartisan during the campaign, and has faced accusations of manipulating its Trending topics news module.