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Facebook will allow staff to protest Trump on May Day strike

Facebook has consented to give its employees time off to partake in anti-Trump, pro-immigrant protests during the upcoming International Workers’ Day.

The company will also investigate whether any of its vendors prevent staff from exercising their right to protest, forming part of the wider tech industry’s battle against the current government’s regime.

The social media company outlined its commitment to “fostering an inclusive workplace” in a post on an internal forum on Friday (14 April), when it told staff it would support them should they choose to join the unionized strike on International Workers’ Day.

“At Facebook, we’re committed to fostering an inclusive workplace where employees feel comfortable expressing their opinions and speaking up,” a spokesman wrote in an emailed statement. “We support our people in recognizing International Workers’ Day and other efforts to raise awareness for safe and equitable employment conditions.”

Facebook told Bloomberg it will also investigate the vendors it employs should they ban workers from exercising their right to protest.

The protest, set to take place on 1 May, is centred around Trump’s controversial immigration policies that threaten to displace thousands of workers, while also jeopardising Silicon Valley businesses that are heavily staffed by foreign workers.

Tech companies have rallied en masse against the controversial aspects of Trump’s agenda. In February over 120 tech firms, including Facebook, Apple and Microsoft, signed a court filing opposing the travel ban preventing citizens of six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg openly opposed Trump’s immigration policies in January, using himself and his wife Priscilla Chan - both descendants of immigrants and refugees - as an example of why immigration should be protected, not banned.

“We need to keep this country safe, but we should do that by focusing on people who actually pose a threat,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. “Expanding the focus of law enforcement beyond people who are real threats would make all Americans less safe by diverting resources, while millions of undocumented folks who don’t pose a threat will live in fear of deportation.”

But Facebook has faced criticism for imparting its liberal views onto its 'impartial' platform. Last year right-wing observers accused the platform of liberal bias when a former Facebook worker claimed that News Feed workers "routinely suppressed conservative news" from appearing in its Trending section. Zuckerberg later met with several leading conservatives in an attempt curb concerns of political bias.