December 1, 2018
Issue: Corporate Accountability
Muslim Advocates Responds to Facebook’s Latest Effort to Cover Up its Campaign to Discredit Civil Rights Groups
The following is a statement from Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, in response to the release of a 3-page document from Facebook that provides a peek into its campaign to tie valid concerns about the bigotry on Facebook’s platforms to an anti-Semitic effort to vilify Jewish philanthropist George Soros. Muslim Advocates has long been engaged in coalition efforts to root out bigotry on Facebook:
Since Facebook’s smear campaign against civil society groups was unearthed two weeks ago, Muslim Advocates has requested that Facebook disclose all of the research done in the name of discrediting Soros and other organizations seeking to hold Facebook accountable for the bigotry that has flourished on its platforms.
But the company has only responded with silence, and we haven’t seen any documents – until today and only because a media outlet received a leaked document. In anticipation of Buzzfeed publishing an excerpt of the memo that provides a peak into Facebook’s efforts to tie valid criticism into a long-running anti-Semitic campaign, Facebook released that one 3-page document.
Facebook has fallen woefully short of the bare minimum expectations of a company that claims to create welcoming and safe communities online. Facebook still hasn’t come clean with all of its opposition research, which is what a company that’s seeking to build trust with its users and the public would do, and its top executives mislead and obfuscate, at best.
Facebook continues to change its story regarding the fact that its top executives directed and were clearly aware of what was happening. Instead, they hid more, and they proved to us that they are simply incapable of being responsible stewards of the company and the community of users that they’ve built.
Facebook has sowed division and profited from stoking rage, divisiveness, and bigotry. This is the mess they have created, and they have proven to be entirely incapable of taking responsibility for their actions and cleaning it up. We stand with MoveOn, Color of Change, and our allies demanding that Facebook do more.
Significant changes need to be made in order to fix Facebook. Releasing all the opposition research developed to target civil society groups and leaders is just the start. It has now become even more clear that fundamental leadership change to allow for accountability in the operations of the company is absolutely necessary: Mark Zuckerberg should step down as Chairman, Sheryl Sandberg should be removed from the Board of Directors, and three independent members should be added to the Board, including at least one individual who is a privacy and civil liberties expert. Facebook: change your ways, change your leadership, and let the country heal.