Statement from STOP HATE FOR PROFIT on the meeting of NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson, Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson, Free Press Co-CEO Jessica J. González, and ADL National Director & CEO Jonathan Greenblatt with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and Facebook Chief Product Officer Christopher Cox
It was abundantly clear in our meeting today that Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook team is not yet ready to address the vitriolic hate on their platform. Zuckerberg offered the same old defense of white supremacist, antisemitic, Islamophobic and other hateful groups on Facebook that the Stop Hate For Profit Coalitions, advertisers and society at large have heard too many times before. Instead of actually responding to the demands of dozens of the platform’s largest advertisers that have joined the #StopHateForProfit ad boycott during the month of July, Facebook wants us to accept the same old rhetoric, repackaged as a fresh response.
The only recommendation they even attempted to address is hiring a civil rights position but were unable to commit to the crucial piece of the position being at the C-suite level or what the requirements for the position will be. However, they offered no attempt to respond to the other nine recommendations. Zuckerberg offered no automatic recourse for advertisers whose content runs alongside hateful posts. He had no answer for why Facebook recommends hateful groups to users. He refused to agree to provide an option for victims of hate and harassment to connect with a live Facebook representative. He declined to adopt common-sense content moderation policies and practices like the ones put forward by the Change the Terms coalition, or develop a process to ensure that their terms of service are fairly applied and do not bend to political expediency. And he did not offer any tangible plans on how Facebook will address the rampant disinformation and violent conspiracies on its platform. Instead, he offered a retread of the same old talking points from last week – tweaks around the edges – with no details or timelines around the MRC audit they have touted, with only the barest minimum of labeling misinformation in political speech, with a Civil Rights audit we asked for years ago, and empty refrains of we are trying.
None of this is hard, especially for one of the world’s most innovative companies whose founder coined the term move fast and break things. Mark Zuckerberg, you aren’t breaking things, you are breaking people. With a stroke of a pen, you could make Facebook better for your users, your advertisers, and society. We hope that you continue thinking about the consequences of what you have wrought and come back to the table soon with real change.
The campaign’s 10 specific demands remain the same. They are meant to be a start for a company of incredible resources, which can do the hard work of transforming the potential of the largest communication platform in human history into a force for good.
1. Establish and empower permanent civil rights infrastructure including C-suite level executive with civil rights expertise to evaluate products and policies for discrimination, bias, and hate. This person would make sure that the design and decisions of this platform considered the impact on all communities and the potential for radicalization and hate.
2. Submit to regular, third-party, independent audits of identity-based hate and misinformation with summary results published on a publicly accessible website. We simply can no longer trust Facebook’s own claims on what they are or are not doing. A “transparency report” is only as good as its author is independent.
3. Provide audit of and refund to advertisers whose ads were shown next to content that was later removed for violations of terms of service. We have documented many examples of companies’ advertisements running alongside the horrible content that Facebook permits. That is not what most advertisers pay for, and they shouldn’t have to.
4. Find and remove public and private groups focused on white supremacy, militia, antisemitism, violent conspiracies, Holocaust denialism, vaccine misinformation, and climate denialism.
5. Adopting common-sense changes to their policies that will help stem radicalization and hate on the platform.
6. Stop recommending or otherwise amplifying groups or content from groups associated with hate, misinformation or conspiracies to users.
7. Create an internal mechanism to automatically flag hateful content in private groups for human review. Private groups are not small gatherings of friends – but can be hundreds of thousands of people large, which many hateful groups are.
8. Ensure accuracy in political and voting matters by eliminating the politician exemption; removing misinformation related to voting; and prohibiting calls to violence by politicians in any format. Given the importance of political and voting matters for society, Facebook’s carving out an exception in this area is especially dangerous.
9. Create expert teams to review submissions of identity-based hate and harassment. Forty-two percent of daily users of Facebook have experienced harassment on the platform, and much of this harassment is based on the individual’s identity. Facebook needs to ensure that their teams understand the different types of harassment faced by different groups in order to adjudicate claims.
10. Enable individuals facing severe hate and harassment to connect with a live Facebook employee. In no other sector does a company not have a way for victims of their product to seek help.