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Facebook boycott organizers “disappointed” with meeting

by PRIDE Newsdesk

(l-r) Derrick Johnson, president/CEO of the NAACP and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

An independent audit by Facebook in regard to its policies and practices found that the social media platform has not done enough to fight discrimination, and that it is the instrument of “significant setbacks for civil rights.”

This comes as the company has been under pressure by social justice groups and the exodus of hundreds of advertisers for its refusal to ban hate speech, misinformation, and other attacks on civil rights from its platform.

On Tuesday, civil rights leaders met with Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, and COO Cheryl Sandberg, delivering 10 demands for the organization.

“It was abundantly clear in our meeting that Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook team are not yet ready to address the vitriolic hate on their platform,’ said Derrick Johnson, president/CEO of the NAACP.

“Zuckerberg offered the same old defense of White supremacists and other hateful groups on Facebook that our coalition, advertisers, and society at large have heard too many times before. Instead of actually responding to the demands of dozens of the platform’s largest advertisers that have joined the #StopHateForProfit ad boycott during the month of July. Facebook wants us to accept the same old rhetoric, repackaged as a fresh response.

“The only recommendation they even attempted to address is hiring a civil rights position but were unable to commit to the crucial piece of the position being at the C-suite level or what the requirements for the position will be. However, they offered no attempt to respond to the other nine recommendations.”

In response to the meeting, Facebook said in a statement that they “want platform to be free of hate and have invested billions to achieve that.”

However, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt called the meeting “disappointing.”

Recommended next steps for Facebook

  1. Establish and empower permanent civil rights infrastructure including C-suite level executive with civil rights expertise to evaluate products and policies for discrimination, bias, and hate.
  2. Submit to regular, third party, independent audits of identity-based hate and misinformation with summary results published on a publicly accessible website.
  3. Provide audit of and refund to advertisers whose ads were shown next to content that was later removed for violations of terms of service.
  4. Find and remove public and private groups focused on White supremacy, militia, anti-Semitism, violent conspiracies, Holocaust denials, vaccine misinformation, and climate denials.
  5. Adopting common-sense changes to their policies that will help stem radicalization and hate on the platform.
  6. Stop recommending or otherwise amplifying groups or content from groups associated with hate, misinformation or conspiracies to users.
  7. Create an internal mechanism to automatically flag hateful content in private groups for human review.
  8. Ensure accuracy in political and voting matters by eliminating the politician exemption; removing misinformation related to voting; and prohibiting calls to violence by politicians in any format.
  9. Create expert teams to review submissions of identity-based hate and harassment.
  10. Enable individuals facing severe hate and harassment to connect with a live Facebook employee.

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