Facebook Meeting With Boycotters Was Rough

Zuckerberg and Co. wanted 'A for attendance,' met no real demands, activists say
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2020 9:06 AM CDT
Auditors Find New Faults With Facebook
In this Oct. 25, 2019, file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the Paley Center in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met virtually with civil rights and activist groups who've helped organize a massive advertiser boycott of the social network, and as CNN reports, "it did not go well." Facebook spokesman Andy Stone later expressed gratitude to the organizers "for their continued engagement" and said the network had the same goal: to rid Facebook of hate speech. He also reiterated that the company was removing posts that incite violence or attempt to suppress voter turnout and said more than 200 white supremacist groups had also been removed. But Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, said Facebook showed up to Tuesday's Zoom meeting "expecting an 'A' for attendance," per CNN. "The company's leaders delivered the same old talking points to try to placate us without meeting our demands," added Jessica Gonzalez, co-CEO of media activist group Free Press.

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said the organizers laid out 10 demands, including that Facebook hire a top-level executive with civil rights experience to review policies for hate and discrimination, ban political ads with blatant lies, and remove public and private groups espousing hate. He said there was no commitment to change from Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg, chief product officer Chris Cox, and members of the Facebook policy team. Sandberg on Tuesday teased a final report from a two-year civil rights audit, per UPI, saying the company had adopted "many recommendations from the auditors and the wider civil rights community." But auditors, finding widespread anti-Muslim speech, urged the company to "do everything in its power to prevent its tools and algorithms from driving people toward self-reinforcing echo chambers of extremism," as Greg Bensinger writes at the New York Times. (More Facebook stories.)

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