Anti-Defamation League blasts Zuckerberg in video campaign


The video juxtaposes footage of Zuckerberg telling lawmakers in a congressional hearing that he is ‘responsible for what happens’ on Facebook with shots of news articles chronicling hate groups’ use of the site. — AFP

The Anti-Defamation League blasted Facebook Inc chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg over the proliferation of hate speech in a new social media campaign.

The League posted a video on Microsoft Corp’s LinkedIn and Twitter Inc on July 23 that says the social media giant is giving White supremacist and anti-Semitic groups a platform on which to organise their activities and spread “destructive” viewpoints on the Internet.

“It pollutes our public discourse, spreads hate and puts too many people at risk,” a narrator in the video says.

The video juxtaposes footage of Zuckerberg telling lawmakers in a congressional hearing that he is “responsible for what happens” on Facebook with shots of news articles chronicling hate groups’ use of the site. The spot, which will run for the next two weeks, is also being shared by NowThis, a liberal social media-focused outlet.

The Anti-Defamation League is one of several groups that have led a campaign to persuade advertisers including Starbucks Corp and PepsiCo Inc to halt spending on Facebook in July to draw attention to the platform’s policies on hate speech and other issues.

Hundreds of advertisers joined the action as public outraged swelled over racial inequities in America following the shocking video of the death of George Floyd in police custody.

The advertising boycott, which has been organised by Color of Change and the NAACP, calls on Facebook to submit to independent audits of its handling of hate speech, create a C-suite executive post to handle civil rights issues and do more to remove election misinformation.

In recent weeks, Zuckerberg and Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg have been talking with civil rights leaders to discuss their concerns but the criticism persists. Sandberg said earlier this month that the company needs to “get better at finding and removing hateful content” but acknowledged it hadn’t heeded all of the civil rights advocates’ recommendations.

The nonprofit Accountable Tech has also spent thousands this summer running ads targeting members of Facebook’s Oversight Board, the group that is charged with reviewing content decisions, which won’t be operational until later this year. The ads say the board was supposed to hold Facebook accountable but instead, the company is using it “for cover as Facebook profits off hate and undermines democracy”. Ads ask members by name to “speak up or step down”. – Bloomberg

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