Dozens of scientists who have received research funding from Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropic vehicle have signed an open letter sharply criticizing Facebook for its policies on misinformation and inflammatory language, calling the social media giant’s practices “antithetical” to their benefactor’s philanthropic mission.
The open letter — which had garnered more than 140 signatures as of midday Saturday — represents a remarkable act of revolt from scientists who are usually reluctant to publicly criticize a generous backer. Of the signees so far, 68 are principal investigators who have been directly awarded funds from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative — the organization set up by Zuckerberg and his spouse, pediatrician Priscilla Chan, to give away his Facebook fortune — or a Bay Area research center funded by CZI.
The letter lauds CZI’s mission to use technology to improve the world. But, the letter says, “the spread of deliberate misinformation and divisive language is directly antithetical to this goal and we are therefore deeply concerned at the stance Facebook has taken.”