Washington, DC — Today, Facebook named attorney Roy L. Austin, Jr. as the company’s new VP of Civil Rights and Deputy General Counsel. Muslim Advocates helped lead to call for the company to undergo a civil rights audit, is a member of the Real Facebook Oversight Board and recently published a report outlining Facebook role in enabling anti-Muslim hate and violence around the world. The following is a statement from Muslim Advocates Special Counsel for Anti-Muslim Bigotry Madihha Ahussain:
“Roy Austin is a respected civil rights advocate who has just taken on the hardest job in the entire technology sector. We hope he can hit the ground running because Facebook must take immediate action to protect the public by permanently banning Donald Trump. More than 6.5 million people follow Donald Trump on Facebook. After he leaves office and Facebook’s temporary suspension is likely lifted, those millions of people will still be able to receive the same white nationalist hate and conspiracy theories that have always come from Trump’s account.
Additionally, as Muslim Advocates and even the company’s own civil rights audit have shown, Facebook has a serious anti-Muslim problem. The platform has been used by white nationalists and militias to organize armed protests at mosques. It has also been used abroad to incite mob violence and even genocide against Muslims. This is a civil rights crisis—one that we have been asking Facebook to deal with for years. The company has excellent counsel in Roy, but Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg need to actually listen to him in order to begin to fix the problems. They must resource his office, and most importantly, give him the authority to make needed changes throughout the company. Turning this ship around will be very hard work and this should not be Roy’s burden alone.”
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.