October 16, 2019
Issue: Corporate Accountability
Muslim Advocates Demands that Zuckerberg Address Facebook’s Anti-Muslim Problem
Ahead of Zuckerberg’s Georgetown Speech on Thursday, Muslim Advocates Urges Facebook to End False Ad Policy
WASHINGTON, DC — The following is a statement issued today from Muslim Advocates Executive Director Farhana Khera responding to Facebook’s newly-codified policy allowing politicians to lie in their ads, as well as a report that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg held private meetings with pundits who have spread anti-Muslim bigotry:
“Facebook’s decision to broadcast false, hateful ads from politicians not only threatens democracy, it also threatens the personal safety of American Muslims, immigrants and other vulnerable communities.
Facebook’s decision has already had real life and death consequences. Facebook has run thousands of ads from the Trump campaign warning of an immigrant ‘invasion’—language that was echoed by white nationalist mass murderers like the Christchurch shooter and the El Paso shooter. Additionally, at a time when American Muslims are facing a wave of bigotry, the Trump campaign ran multiple, false ads calling two Muslim members of Congress ‘anti-Israel, anti-AMERICAN, and pro-terrorist,’ contributing to an environment where these members of Congress now receive death threats on a regular basis.
Despite never making himself available for a meeting with advocates representing communities directly targeted by these hateful and false ads, Mark Zuckerberg instead has held private meetings with right-wing media personalities with a history of amplifying anti-Muslim hate. Let’s be clear: the people Zuckerberg dined with and sought counsel from are not just standard-issue conservative pundits, they are bigots who have voiced and amplified dangerous, white nationalist, anti-Muslim hate, including:
- Ben Shapiro saying that Arabs ‘like to bomb crap and live in open sewage’ and falsely claiming that a majority of Muslims are anti-American radicals.
- Brent Bozell giving a keynote speech at a conference hosted by ACT for America, an anti-Muslim extremist group so extreme that it was recently disinvited from Trump’s own Mar-a-Lago resort.
- Byron York penning an op-ed that tried to legitimize the anti-Muslim ‘birther’ conspiracy theory against President Barack Obama.
- Tucker Carlson saying on his cable news show that Rep. Ilhan Omar is ‘living proof that the way we practice immigration has become dangerous to this country’ and warning that ‘no country can import large numbers of people who hate it and expect to survive.’
- Hugh Hewitt using his radio show to broadcast anti-Muslim stereotypes and amplify people who said that Islam is antithetical to the American values system.
Groups like Muslim Advocates have spent years asking Zuckerberg to take meaningful action to stop the dangerous, violent hate speech that still thrives on Facebook and have been met with excuses and half-measures. Meanwhile, he has opened his doors and broken bread with people who have spread anti-Muslim hate.
And the problem isn’t just the rampant hate content, the dishonest ads and the meetings to appease conservatives. The massacre of 51 people in two Christchurch mosques was broadcast on Facebook. Further, the company knowingly tapped known anti-Muslim politician Jon Kyl to author its anti-conservative bias audit.
At this point, it is undeniable that Facebook has an anti-Muslim problem that will not go away unless the company changes course and makes right the harm it has enabled. That’s why we are calling on Facebook to end its policy of profiting from false ads, disclose the revenue generated from those ads and donate that revenue to communities directly targeted by false and hateful ads.”
- Muslim Advocates Blasts Pandering Facebook Bias Report
- Muslim Advocates: Facebook Does Not Take Hate Content Seriously
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.