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8 Jul 2020

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook

Making progress on civil rights – but still a long way to go

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Facebook stands firmly against hate... This audit has been a deep analysis of how we can strengthen and advance civil rights at every level of our company... we have a long way to go. As hard as it has been to have our shortcomings exposed by experts, it has undoubtedly been a really important process for our company. We would urge companies in our industry and beyond to do the same.

... Some of the starkest criticism is reserved for our decision not to remove recent posts by President Trump. In the auditors’ view, the emphasis we’ve placed on free expression has not been adequately balanced by the critical value of non-discrimination. The auditors also strongly disagree with our policy to not fact-check politicians, and believe that the end result means more voice for those in positions of power.

... The progress we have made includes:

  • We’re beginning the process of bringing much-needed civil rights expertise in-house, starting with a commitment to hire a civil rights leader who will continue to push us on these issues internally, and embedding staff with civil rights expertise on core teams.
  • We’ve expanded our voter suppression policies since the 2016 and 2018 elections...
  • We’ve extended the protections we have in place for voting to the US 2020 census by adopting a robust census interference policy...
  • We’ve gone beyond existing hate speech protections to ban ads that are divisive and include fear-mongering statements...
  • [We're] committing to bring on 30% more people of color, including 30% more Black people, in leadership positions.