Muslim Advocates to Facebook: Don’t Use Muslims You Have Failed to Protect as a Shield

Facebook’s Tepid Action on Muslim Ban Doesn’t Excuse Dangerous Inaction on Hate

WASHINGTON, DC — On Sunday, the Washington Post published a blockbuster article charting how Facebook’s decision to protect a post from then-candidate Trump calling for a ban on all Muslims led to the company’s shameful policy allowing politicians to lie in Facebook ads. In response, the Post said that Facebook “pointed out that Zuckerberg opposed Trump when his Muslim immigration ban went into effect.” Muslim Advocates has been working to get anti-Muslim hate content off Facebook for nearly eight years and was a leading force pressuring the company to conduct a civil rights audit. Our executive director also met with Mark Zuckerberg last fall. The following is a statement from Madihha Ahussain, Muslim Advocates’ special counsel for anti-Muslim bigotry, on Facebook’s continued failure to protect Muslims:

“Facebook is a hotbed of anti-Muslim hate that continues to appease President Trump and his allies. It is shocking that the company would point to Mark Zuckerberg’s tepid public opposition to the Muslim Ban as a way to deflect from that tragic, inarguable fact. 

Muslim Advocates has been calling on Facebook, specifically Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, to take meaningful action to end hate content for nearly eight years. Facebook continues to co-sponsor hate rallies by allowing white nationalists and anti-Muslim groups to use their event pages to organize armed protests at mosques. A gunman broadcast his slaughter of 51 people in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on Facebook Live. Facebook allowed the Trump campaign to run thousands of ads warning of an immigrant ‘invasion’—language that was echoed by the Christchurch shooter and several other violent white nationalists. And abroad, Facebook’s platforms have been used to incite genocide and violence against Muslims in Myanmar, China, India, Sri Lanka and other countries. 

It is clear that Muslims have been exposed to unimaginable hate and violence because of Facebook’s continued inaction. That’s why it’s so surprising and frankly laughable that Facebook would try to use an anemic response from Mark Zuckerberg as an example of the company standing up to the president. Throughout our continued outreach to Facebook, the company has repeatedly failed to stand up for Muslims—including choosing not to support the NO BAN Act, a bill to end Trump’s Muslim Ban.

Simply put, Facebook has a serious anti-Muslim problem and it is beyond offensive that the company would try and use Muslims to distract from that. Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg need to create a permanent civil rights infrastructure within the company which is accountable to the board of directors to end this hate and prevent violence against Muslims and other vulnerable communities harmed by Facebook.”

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.