Why It’s Time To Prioritize The Safety Of Black Users And Rid Facebook Of Hate Groups
Black people drive culture online and offline — we have the power to mobilize and demand Facebook to address the hateful rhetoric and racist practices that harm our communities, as the company makes money.
Facebook leadership wants praise for “supporting'' social justice movements, but on the day the officer who brutally murdered Breonna Taylor was not indicted, they showed their true colors. Facebook employees are facing disciplinary action for acknowledging Breonna Taylor’s injustice in a profile picture within their internal system — and the tech company is enforcing rules for employees that prevent them from speaking on any issue unrelated to the company in internal discussion groups. It is clear that Facebook is still a safe haven for white supremacist when policies are regulated only in response to people demanding justice when Black people are killed by police with impunity.
“What we do is really try to not take a point of view,” said Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook. Yet violent, white nationalists use the platform to share their messages, and Facebook themselves automatically recommends hate group pages and content to those who use the platform — indoctrinating people in white nationalist ideologies. Facebook's hypocrisy on free speech gives a voice, platform and support to racist hate groups, while their employees are punished for advocating for justice for Breonna Taylor. They continue to be on the wrong side of history and are in solidarity with those who infringe on Black people’s safety, lives and justice.
To protect Black people online, as we work to protect our communities on the streets, Color Of Change and our allies have been demanding Facebook #StopHateForProfit and adopt a set of changes to address the plethora of racism, violence, hate and misinformation on the platform. And now we’re calling on everyone to join us to demand systemic change. Black people drive culture online and offline — we have the power to mobilize and demand Facebook to address the hateful rhetoric and racist practices that harm our communities, as the company makes money.
Take Immediate Action With Color Of Change: Tell Facebook To Stop Fueling White Nationalist Hate Groups!
Recently Facebook and other social media companies agreed to adopt a common set of definitions for hate speech and other harmful content, and develop uniform reporting standards on harmful content in collaboration with advertisers. This is a delayed attempt to remove harmful, hate content on their platform, and improve the safety of online users. Facebook defines “sensitive social issues” as anything related to racial justice. This framework will actually financially harm racial justice organizations and movements, and limit their ad support — enabling Facebook to profit under the guise of accountability to its consumers, users and the movement.
The fact is, Facebook knows they are the epicenter of racism and hatred on social media, as do the multiple employees who have resigned over the past months. They are one of the largest tech giants, yet they are light years behind other social media platforms when it comes to accurate, timely information. They commend themselves as innovative while choosing to ignore the harmful behavior, spread of hate, racism and misinformation that their platform encourages. Facebook empowers racist hate groups and content on their platform, and fuels hate group recruitment. The tech giant did not remove the white nationalist militia event that spurred the murders of protestors in Kenosha, and white nationalist militia groups are still able to convene on the platform — openly calling for violence against Black Lives Matter protests.
We know that Facebook has the tools and resources they need to take meaningful action on civil rights injustices because we’ve pushed them toward progress before. It wasn’t until our millions of members raised the pressure that they agreed to conduct the civil rights audit and create a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plan. Our ad boycott in July also moved Facebook to action — forcing them to concede to two long-standing demands by Color Of Change: the creation of a senior role to oversee civil rights and the creation of a dedicated team to study algorithmic racial bias.
But that’s still not enough. The racist content and targeted disinformation continues to permeate across the platform. Facebook enacts rules, creates frameworks and hires new people — yet they fail to regulate and act when problems around racist hate speech and content arise.
Protest Facebook’s Enabling Of Racism, Violence And Hate: Sign The Petition To Tell Facebook To #StopHateForProfit
If there was ever a time to finally call out Facebook, it’s now, when they’ve shown they’re at least open to taking positive steps. Recently, the Stop Hate for Profit coalition took our work to the next level and launched a ‘Week of Action’ on Instagram demanding Facebook take responsibility for the hate and misinformation that proliferates on its platform — with celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Michael B. Jordan, Kerry Washington, Dwayne Wade, Naomi Campbell, Jamie Foxx and others joining us to send a clear message to Facebook: it’s time to prioritize the safety of Black users and rid the platform of hate groups.
It is abundantly evident that Facebook cares more about protecting its bottom line from a public relations nightmare than they do about protecting Black communities, their employees and the fundamental premises of our democracy. But we do care, and we have the power to hold them to account moving forward. It’s up to all of us to send Facebook a message: we will not stand for their negligence any longer.
Take Action: Join The Conversation About Facebook’s Danger To Society By Posting Each Day To Explicitly Call Out Facebook To #StopHateForProfit.
We're all searching for ways to get involved in advocating for racial justice — and let’s be real — we’ve been ready for social media platforms like Facebook to step up and enact change. This is a crucial moment to ensure our communities are protected online. We need to join together and demand Facebook to combat racist hate on their platform, once and for all.