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Article

9 Jul 2020

Author:
Charlie Warzel, The New York Times

Commentary: Facebook needs to have & enforce rules about voter suppression before the US presidential election

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Facebook’s long-awaited civil rights audit is now public and it isn’t flattering... Facebook does not fully understand how its algorithms drive hate, that anti-Muslim speech is “rampant,” that Facebook’s reforms never fix the problem — and warned the company may “driving people toward self-reinforcing echo chambers of extremism.”... Rashad Robinson, the head of the civil rights group Color of Change, has been one of the leaders of this push as well as one of the vocal backers of Facebook’s recent advertiser boycott... [He said] "We are doing a lot of work for a multibillion-dollar company and it’s just always dispiriting we have to do this for them because they won’t do it for themselves... what they’re doing is gaslighting... I believe we’re not going to win this fight through policies that Facebook puts in place. Yes, there are things Facebook could do tinkering on the margins. And, honestly, the only reason I’m at the table is because we don’t have the legislative and regulatory levers to pull right now... The audit speaks to just how much Facebook’s incentive structure is broken... I think Facebook’s heart is in the right place sometimes. But their heart doesn’t make decisions inside the corporation."

..."There is an election and I need to get them to enforce the policies on the books before the fall. I need them to have some real rules around elections and voter suppression posts that actually will apply to Trump and other politicians so he doesn’t do anything dangerous on Election Day or before."

... [Facebook did not respond to a request for comment about these meetings.]

Part of the following stories

Independent audit of Facebook finds that some decisions were "significant setbacks for civil rights"; incl. company comments

USA: 2020 Presidential election, business & human rights