Facebook decisions were ‘setbacks for civil rights,’ audit finds
Facebook has not done enough to fight discrimination on its platform and has made some decisions that were “significant setbacks for civil rights,” according to a new independent audit of the company’s policies and practices... [T]he social network was repeatedly faulted for not having the infrastructure for handling civil rights and for prioritizing free expression on its platform over nondiscrimination. In some decisions, Facebook did not seek civil rights expertise, the auditors said, potentially setting a “terrible” precedent that could affect the November general election and other speech issues... The report... was the culmination of two years of examination of the social network.
... civil rights leaders met with Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, and chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, with 10 demands, including appointing a civil rights executive. But those who attended said the Facebook executives did not agree to many of their requests and instead spouted “spin.”... [T]he report was critical of Facebook’s handling of speech — particularly speech from politicians — and the effects on users. The auditors said Facebook had been too willing to exempt politicians from abiding by its rules, allowing them to spread misinformation, harmful and divisive rhetoric, and even calls to violence.
... In the report, the company said it would create a role for a senior vice president of civil rights leadership that will report up through the legal department and ultimately to Ms. Sandberg. Facebook also promised to develop new internal processes that support the civil rights of users, across its product and policy teams.