Civil Rights groups fight Facebook over allegations of hateful content on platform

A coalition of civil rights groups sent a letter to Facebook last week with concerns of “hateful content” that is spread on the platform to its billions of users.

“We, the undersigned civil rights, interfaith, and advocacy organizations write to express our deep concern regarding ads, pages, and hateful content on your platform used to divide our country, and in particular, to promote anti-Muslim, anti-Black, anti- immigrant, and anti-LGBTQ animus,” the letter stated.

Groups included the Human Rights Campaign, Muslim Advocates, League of United Latin American Citizens, NAACP, the Southern Poverty Law Center and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

The letter comes in the wake of Facebook, Twitter and Google testifying to Congress about allegations of Russian hacking of the popular social media platforms. Facebook informed lawmakers that 126 million Americans could have been exposed to Russian sponsored content on the platform.

“As a company and social network platform whose mission is ‘to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together’ we hope that you understand the gravity of this hateful rhetoric and behavior.”

Among the requests in the letter to make Facebook a more inclusive place for all of it’s users are for the platform to disclose to the public the origin of all ads, bring on an independent third-party team to conduct a thorough and public audit of the civil rights impact of your policies and programs, and make public detailed information regarding training and support for immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-black, and anti-LGBTQ organizations, including the monetary value of these services.

“It is our hope that recent developments will mark a new chapter in Facebook’s commitment to protecting the rights of all who use your platform.”

With so many powerful civil rights organizations behind this letter, lets hope Facebook –and all other social media platforms – take their responsibility to stop hate on their platforms seriously. There should be no safe haven for hate speech.

 

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