Facebook met with civil rights groups after hundreds of companies joined ad boycott

Civil rights leaders organizing a major advertising boycott of Facebook said they remained unconvinced that the social network is taking enough action against hate speech and disinformation after meeting with Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives on Tuesday.

Civil rights leaders used the session to press Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, to institute changes at Facebook, including installing a top-level executive who will ensure the global platform does not fuel racism and radicalization.

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Facebook Fails to Appease Organizers of Ad Boycott
Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s two top executives, met with civil rights groups on Tuesday in an attempt to mollify them over how the social network treats hate speech on its site.

But Mr. Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, and Ms. Sandberg, the chief operating officer, failed to win its critics over.

For more than an hour over Zoom, the duo, along with other Facebook executives, discussed the company’s handling of hate speech with representatives from the Anti-Defamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Color of Change and other groups. Those organizations have recently helped push hundreds of companies, such as Unilever and Best Buy, to pause their advertising on Facebook to protest its handling of toxic speech and misinformation.

Facebook’s own civil rights auditors said its policy decisions are a ‘tremendous setback’
The civil rights auditors Facebook hired to scrutinize its civil rights record on Wednesday delivered a long-awaited and scathing indictment of the social media giant’s decisions to prioritize free speech above other values, which the auditors called a “tremendous setback” that opened the door for abuse by politicians.

The report criticized Facebook’s choice to leave untouched several posts by President Trump, including three in May that the auditors said “clearly violated” the company’s policies prohibiting voter suppression, hate speech, and incitement of violence.

Facebook’s Decisions Were ‘Setbacks for Civil Rights,’ Audit Finds
Auditors handpicked by Facebook to examine its policies said that the company had not done enough to protect people on the platform from discriminatory posts and ads and that its decisions to leave up President Trump’s inflammatory posts were “significant setbacks for civil rights.”

The 89-page audit put Facebook in an awkward position as the presidential campaign heats up. The report gave fuel to the company’s detractors, who said the site had allowed hate speech and misinformation to flourish. The audit also placed the social network in the spotlight for an issue it had worked hard to avoid since the 2016 election: That it may once again be negatively influencing American voters.

Facebook decisions led to serious setbacks for civil rights – report
Facebook’s decisions over the last nine months have resulted in “serious setbacks for civil rights,” according to the damning conclusion of a two-year-long audit commissioned by the social network to review its impact on the world.

The final report, which focuses primarily on decisions made since June 2019, praises Facebook’s move to ban American advertisers from using its tools for housing and employment discrimination, and the company’s belated decision to ban explicit support for white nationalism.

DNC blasts Facebook for ‘unkept promises’ ahead of ad boycott meetings
The Democratic National Committee on Tuesday assailed Facebook for “unkept promises” in a wide-ranging memo drawn up ahead of meetings between the company’s top executives and leaders of an intensifying ad boycott over hate speech and misinformation.

The memo, obtained by The Washington Post, accuses Facebook of failing to fulfill a series of promises it made following the 2016 election, including limiting sensational and hyperpartisan content, standing up a rigorous fact-checking program and curtailing disinformation. It also faults the company for “underdeveloped and unevenly applied policies,” including about incitement on its platform as well as voter suppression and other election-related content.

Facebook ad boycott organizers met with Zuckerberg. It didn’t go well
Civil rights and activist groups blasted Facebook’s leadership on Tuesday after meeting with CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other executives to discuss the demands of a large advertiser boycott that now includes hundreds of brands.

“The meeting we just left was a disappointment,” said Rashad Robinson, the president of Color of Change. “[Facebook] showed up to the meeting expecting an ‘A’ for attendance.”

Civil rights groups denounce Facebook over hate speech
Facebook keeps telling critics that it is doing everything it can to rid its service of hate, abuse and misinformation. And the company’s detractors keep not buying it.

On Tuesday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg met with a group of civil rights leaders, including the organizers of a growing advertising boycott over hate speech on Facebook. One of those leaders, NAACP President Derrick Johnson, said Facebook’s executives offered little but cheap talk that skirted major commitments to new rules or actions that would curb racism and misinformation on its platform.

Making Progress on Civil Rights – But Still a Long Way to Go
Today, Facebook’s third civil rights audit report is being published — bringing to a close an independent two-year review of our policies and practices by noted civil liberties and civil rights expert Laura W. Murphy and Megan Cacace, partner in the civil rights law firm Relman Colfax, PLLC. This two-year journey has had a profound effect on the way we think about our impact on the world.

When we agreed to become the first social media company to undertake an audit of this kind, at the encouragement of the civil rights community, no one knew that the final report would be published at a time when racial injustice and police brutality is bringing millions of people to the streets — both at home and abroad — to campaign for change. We also had no idea that it would be published at a time when Facebook itself has faced heavy criticism from many in the civil rights community about hateful content on our platform and is subject to a boycott by a number of advertisers. While the audit was planned, and most of it carried out, long before recent events, its release couldn’t come at a more important time.

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