As Advertisers continue Boycott of Facebook, Zuckerberg and Co. Dodge Civil Rights Activists' Demands and Fail Civil Rights Audit
A tech giant with gigantic problems: Facebook has been confronted with content moderation problems, China's new security battle, employee protests, antitrust and biased hiring suits and ad boycotts. In an effort to harken to the boycott organizers, the tech giant called for a virtual meeting with civil rights leaders which ended disappointingly as Facebook didn't make a commitment to any of the 10 demanded changes. The unproductive meeting might prolong a growing ad boycott worsening the company’s public image as it failed to address a staggering issue of Facebook's 2.6 billion users worldwide with no clear data whether total hate speech on their platform is increasing or not.
Facebook's moves: Years of complaints by civil rights groups prompted the Facebook-commissioned audit report. Potentially it carried more weight than other civil rights criticisms because it encompassed inputs from more than 100 civil rights groups and the network giant allowed auditors sizable access to its executives and systems. This does not guarantee though that Facebook will make substantial changes to its policies and practices.
Right moves but: Moving in the right direction, but Facebook's hired attorneys reviewing its civil rights policies concluded Wednesday that the company has failed to adequately combat discrimination and voter suppression on its platform and rebuked the social network's executives for prioritizing political speech over civil rights and other values.
Upsetting findings: Civil audit findings showed upsetting issues on Facebook's repeated prioritization of free expression over equality and nondiscrimination, setting a precedent of special exemption given to politicians who spread misinformation and create division that could adversely affect the November election. Additionally, Facebook needs to do more in monitoring and removing posts by extremists and hate organizations. As the audit laid bare the shortcomings in Facebook's content policies and enforcement practices, its CEO said this review was the beginning of a long journey and they are now taking steps like banning fear-mongering ads and prohibiting disinformation regarding 2020 census, among other corrective and mitigating actions.
A never-ending drama? The drama started when Facebook decided to give politicians free rein on their network even if they post divisive and false statements. And there might be even more as Facebook’s closed groups, which are more difficult to monitor and moderate, are possible venues for extremism to thrive in secret.