James Damore was fired and quickly became a celebrity to conservatives and members of the "alt-right," who said he represented an example of Silicon Valley's intolerance for conservative viewpoints.
An online discussion group inside Facebook in which employees talked anonymously turned ugly and was ultimately shut down last year after the divisiveness of the US presidential election transformed the forum into a hub for political comments that alarmed management, according to several people familiar with the matter.
The internal group, named Facebook Anon, was created in May 2015 as a way for employees to freely share concerns and opinions about the workplace.
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It was around that time that Zuckerberg denounced employees who crossed out "Black Lives Matter" and wrote "All Lives Matter" on the walls of Facebook’s California headquarters.
With hundreds of members, what was posted on Facebook Anon was regularly discussed by employees outside of the group and throughout the company, according to current and former employees.
Just before the election, a poster advertising the group on Facebook’s campus read "Trump Supporters Welcome." The previously unreported incident highlights the tricky balance Silicon Valley tech companies face between protecting their employees’ rights to free speech and combatting hate speech.
Earlier this month, a Google employee's internal memo criticizing the company's diversity initiatives caused an uproar inside and outside the company.
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