August 13, 2020
Issue: Corporate Accountability
New Facebook Hate Speech Policy Update Leaves Out Muslims
WASHINGTON, DC — On Thursday, national civil rights organization Muslim Advocates registered concerns with Facebook’s updated policies banning conspiracy theories and stereotypes about several communities while once again neglecting anti-Muslim bigotry on its platform. Last month, Facebook released its independent Civil Rights Audit Report, which specifically noted “the prevalence of content demonizing Islam and Muslims” on the platform. The following is a statement from Muslim Advocates Special Counsel for Anti-Muslim Bigotry Madihha Ahussain:
“Facebook has no regard for the lives of Muslims. Banning blackface and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and stereotypes are welcome expansions of its hate speech policies. However, it is baffling that the company chose not to include implicit stereotypes and tropes about Muslims such as the false idea that they are inherently violent, foreign, criminal or anti-American. These stereotypes are all dangerous and lead to discrimination and hate crimes. Yet, given the opportunity to protect Muslims from hate speech on its platform the same way it has for other communities, Facebook has refused to act.
The independent civil rights audit of Facebook completed last month confirmed that the company has an anti-Muslim problem. Facebook was used by a white nationalist to livestream his slaughter of 51 people in two New Zealand mosques. Facebook has been used by white nationalists to organize armed protests at mosques in the U.S. It even permitted content on the platform which led to violence against Muslims abroad and is refusing to provide information on how the platform is used to enable genocide against Muslims in Myanmar. Facebook’s new policy update shows that it understands the harm that hate content can cause to other communities yet it purposefully keeps failing to address bigotry targeting Muslims.
This continued lack of action by the company underscores the need for Facebook to hire a senior employee with expertise in anti-Muslim bigotry to oversee a working group specifically tasked with monitoring, reviewing, and coordinating efforts to proactively eradicate anti-Muslim pages, content, groups, and violence working group. Facebook must also take action by expanding its hate speech policies to ban false and harmful stereotypes about Muslims like it has rightfully done for dangerous stereotypes targeting other communities. Muslim lives are at risk as we continue to face threats, hate speech and worse on 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.