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21 Dec 2018

USA: Civil rights groups call on Facebook to stop use of its platform to spread hate & violence & to ensure greater accountability of leadership

Facebook has been criticized by civil society groups over the past several years regarding the use of its platform to spread hate, bigotry, and disinformation. Some civil society have called for Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg to step down from Facebook's board of directors following what they described as the company’s role in “generating bigotry and hatred towards vulnerable communities”. They have also called for diversifying the board and appointing an independent and permanent civil rights ombudsman to the board.

In May 2018, Facebook initiated a civil rights audit. This has led to the company making changes related to enforcement against harmful content, fighting discrimination in ads, and protecting the US 2020 Census and elections against intimidation. In June 2019, Facebook announced the creation of a civil rights task force and an election monitoring center to guard against interference in the 2020 presidential campaign and census. Facebook is also introducing civil rights training for all senior leaders on the task force and key employees who work in the early stages of developing relevant products and policies. Civil society has urged Facebook to take further action.

In August 2019, Media Matters for America produced research alleging that Facebook is allowing white supremacist ideology thrive on its platform. We invited Facebook to respond; it did not.

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