April 3, 2018
Issue: Corporate Accountability
Muslim Advocates and Color Of Change Demand Independent Civil Rights Audit of Facebook
Washington, DC —Color Of Change and Muslim Advocates launched a joint campaign today demanding that Facebook conduct a full, independent audit and investigation of its civil rights policies and anti-civil rights activities being hosted on its platform. Facebook’s continued lack of transparency around when and how the company and law enforcement access our data, the company’s failure to stop the proliferation of hate speech and white supremacist organizing on its platform, the tracking of immigrant communities by the department of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the censorship of Black activists must be addressed.
The two civil rights groups are demanding that Facebook conducts an aggressive and thorough independent audit of its privacy and security policies and of the civil rights impact of those policies. The audit should explain how Facebook’s privacy controls have been implemented, whether risk assessments were thoroughly conducted, and if those assessments included a focus on civil rights violations.
Facebook’s leadership has proven to be responsive to the concerns of subpoenas from the White House special counsel, from congressional leaders, and from European regulators, but has shied away from meaningfully responding to the concerns of multiple civil rights groups, which have made numerous calls for the company to address pervasive bigotry and white supremacist organizing on its platform.
“Facebook’s disregard for the protection of private personal data and the safety of its most vulnerable users is playing a role in shaking the foundations of our democracy and shattering people’s faith in institutions,” said Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of Color Of Change. “Facebook users have increasingly found the platform to be an unsafe environment after repeated broken promises to protect our data, limit the spread of hate speech, and be more transparent about their interactions with law enforcement. If Facebook wants to restore trust with its users, an independent audit is a critical first step.”
“For years, civil rights groups have urged Facebook to prioritize the safety of all of its users, especially Muslims; people of color; immigrants; and the LGBTQ community, and the company has yet to take these concerns seriously.” said Farhana Khera, Executive Director of Muslim Advocates. “Other platforms like Twitter and Airbnb have shown that, when legitimate concerns are raised, responsible companies can take meaningful action to protect their own users from hate and discrimination. We hope that Facebook will soon be one of those companies. Until then, all users should be aware that this is not a company that takes their concerns seriously.”
Facebook must develop clearer procedures for reviewing and deleting content that is abusive and hateful and must take a hardline approach to how it protects our data from nefarious actors — especially companies like Cambridge Analytica, Russian bots, white supremacists, and law enforcement officers — that use the platform to sway public opinion, foment violence against Muslims, erase the voices of Black activists, and prey on immigrant communities. If Zuckerberg and Facebook cannot guarantee the safety of all users, it does not deserve our support.
About Color Of Change
Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. Headed by executive director Rashad Robinson, we help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over one million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America. Learn more about Color Of Change campaigns and initiatives here.
About Muslim Advocates
Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths. Learn more about Muslim Advocates here.