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Offensive Border Patrol Group Shows Need for Board-Level Reform at Facebook

WASHINGTON, DC — The following is a statement from Madihha Ahussain, Muslim Advocates’ special counsel for anti-Muslim bigotry, responding to the news that Facebook has been hosting a private group where border patrol agents use hate-speech and violent and sexual imagery—including about members of Congress. Much of the accountability and attention has rightly focused on the agents posting the content, but Facebook, which released a response here, is largely going without scrutiny:

“Yet again, Facebook has failed to sufficiently address the hatred on its platform. As we’ve seen with the company’s quick action to remove child pornography and ISIS-inspired content, Facebook has the ability to find and remove content that doesn’t meet its guidelines, but the company does not apply its policies consistently. Facebook is choosing to look the other way while law enforcement officials are using the company’s platform to direct reprehensible hate speech at immigrants and members of Congress. It is telling that in countries like Germany, where the law requires Facebook to be responsive and remove hate content, the company is suddenly able and willing to do so.

The fact that this news comes so soon after the most recent update on the company’s civil rights audit is yet more evidence that Facebook is failing to do enough to stop the spread of hate on its platform and that their lack of civil rights infrastructure is not fixing the problem. That is why we continue to call for permanent, board-level change at the company including the removal of Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg from the board.

If Facebook couldn’t even prevent members of Congress from experiencing this shocking hate, what hope do the rest of us have?”

Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.