Center for Media Justice link.
Oakland, CA —As news reports continue to reveal the extent to which Facebook’s platforms have been used to promote hate, the Center for Media Justice joined Muslim Advocates and 30 other civil rights groups in signing a letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg today demanding dramatic reforms to Facebook’s board of directors and the leadership of the company.
This includes calling for Zuckerberg to step down as chairman of the board, the full release of Facebook’s independent civil rights audit, as well as the removal of Vice President of Public Policy Joel Kaplan—who oversaw the hiring of right-wing public relations firm Definers, which actively targeted racial justice organizations on the platform.
This morning, Facebook released an update on its civil rights audit, citing changes the company made ahead of the mid-term elections to address voter suppression. The update doesn’t address the concerns civil rights groups have raised around censorship and hate speech.
The following statement can be attributed to Steven Renderos, Senior Campaigns Director at the Center for Media Justice: "While we appreciate the progress Facebook has made during the civil rights audit, recent news reports have shown that we cannot trust this company to regulate itself.....
Today’s update on their civil rights audit is too little too late. Facebook must overhaul its board immediately, remove Kaplan, and take significant steps towards real accountability for the harm it continues to cause our communities."
The letter direct link.
Dear Mr. Zuckerberg: We write to express our profound disappointment regarding Facebook’s role in generating bigotry and hatred towards vulnerable communities and civil rights organizations. For years, many of us have engaged directly with your company in good faith, seeking change from within the company that we hoped would address a range of civil rights, privacy, and safety problems resulting from abuse and mismanagement of the platform, including engaging in an on-going audit of the civil rights impact of your policies and programs, as well as how the platform has been used by hate groups, political entities, and others to stoke racial or religious resentment or violence.
In particular, we asked you to take immediate action to stop abuse of the platform. Recent news demonstrates, however, that Facebook was not only looking the other way in response to our concerns, but also has been actively working to undermine efforts by those who seek to hold the company responsible for abuses on the platform.
On its face this has nothing to do with mortgages. But it is more important than mortgages. Read carefully:
Well when you have 77 groups and the Center for Media Justice writing Facebook and a black man and a white supremacist in agreement, you know something is going to change. And eventually it will. It takes exposure and some litigation and that's exactly why I'm here. You can say Richard Spencer is crazy. You can say I'm crazy. You can say Facebook is crazy. All of that might be true. The larger point is that something is indeed going to change.
"Our coalition represents 77 social and racial justice organizations urging changes to facebook's censorship policies and practices....."
Center for Media Justice January 18, 2017
Coalition of 77 orgs urges changes to Facebook’s censorship policies. Direct link to letter.
NPR "Unlikely Allies Join Fight to Protect Free Speech on the Internet."
Activists in the Movement for Black Lives have routinely reported the takedown of images discussing racism and during protests, with the justification that it violates Facebook’s Community Standards. At the same time, harassment and threats directed at activists based on their race, religion, and sexual orientation is thriving on Facebook. Many of these activists have reported such harassment and threats by users and pages on Facebook only to be told that they don’t violate Facebook’s Community Standards. Similar experiences have been reported by Facebook users from a variety of communities, yet your recent response indicates you are adequately addressing the problem. We disagree.Yup. This little House of Hegemonic Cards is gonna go tumble soon. Wait for it and read the Facebook Brandeis Brief and listen to the KKNW 1150 Talk Radio discussion.