Meeting With Zuckerberg Was ‘Disappointing’, Says Facebook Boycott Organizers

Facebook was unable to commit to any concrete solutions for addressing hate speech and misinformation on its social media platform, said the organizers behind a major advertiser boycott of Facebook after a meeting with the CEO of the company Mark Zuckerberg and other executives. The organizers called the meeting “disappointing”.

Members of the coalition of civil rights groups held a meeting with officials at Facebook, including Zuckerberg, the CEO, and Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer over video chat for an hour on Tuesday to discuss the largest boycott in Facebook history. The call from the organizers to advertisers of Facebook to boycott the largest social media platform of the world has been supported by more than 1,000 companies including some of the major advertisers of Facebook such as Unilever, Coca-Cola, and Starbucks.

Rashad Robinson of the Color of Change, which is one of the groups that gave the call on advertisers to suspend spending on the social media platform said that Facebook offered little in terms of concrete solutions.

“Facebook showed up to this meeting expecting a grade A for attendance,” he said. “Attendance alone is not enough. At this point we were expecting some very clear answers to the recommendations we put on the table, and we did not get that. We did not get to the heart of these problems.”

The recommendations included include an individual who had civil rights expertise in the C suite at Facebook, removing the political exemptions on the platform that are used by some public figures to pass on hate speech rules on the platform and submitting to regular third-party audits of hate and misinformation.

Following n apparent call by an United States president Donald Trump shooting protesters, which was a post that was flagged by Twitter s being inappropriate but was not taken action upon by Facebook, the opposition to political exemptions had intensified.

The activist groups running the boycott campaign have also demand that the social media company should find and remove public and private groups that regularly engage in posting posts related to white supremacy, antisemitism, violent conspiracies, Holocaust denialism, vaccine misinformation, and climate denialism.

A critical mass had been reached by the campaign which could not be ignored by Facebook, Robinson had said prior to the meeting. “What we have done differently this time is to go directly to big advertisers who also have not been able to get changes from the platform,” he said, “advertisers who see their ads on Facebook showing up next to white supremacist and white nationalist content and who have watched as Mark Zuckerberg has seen himself as too powerful to have to listen,” he had said.

No comments on the meeting were made by Facebook.

“‘Almost’ isn’t good enough when we are talking about fighting hate,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive officer of the Anti-Defamation League, which is part of the coalition. “Facebook should have a zero-tolerance policy on intolerance like every other company in America.”

(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)

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