Facebook's pitch to Civil Rights Groups Fall On Deaf Ears

Civil Rights Groups: Mark Zuckerberg Offered “Same Old Defense of White Supremacist” on Facebook During Ad Boycott Meeting

Facebook Mark Zuckerberg
(Image: Oath Video Player)

Facebook’s top executives Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg met with civil rights groups to discuss the ad boycott against the company. It did not go well.

According to the New York Times, Zuckerberg and Sandberg met with leaders of the Anti-Defamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Color of Change, and other groups in a Zoom conference for more than an hour Tuesday.


The civil rights groups discussed 10 demands to help prevent vitriol and hate from spreading on the social media platform. The demands included hiring a person of color with a civil rights background to an executive position and submitting to regular independent audits.

However, outside of hiring a person of color to an executive position, the pair largely ignored the demands, according to the groups.

“It was abundantly clear in our meeting today that Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook team are not yet ready to address the vitriolic hate on their platform,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in an email to BLACK ENTERPRISE. “Zuckerberg offered the same old defense of white supremacist and other hateful groups on Facebook that our coalition, advertisers, and society at large have heard too many times before.

“Instead of actually responding to the demands of dozens of the platform’s largest advertisers that have joined the #StopHateForProfit ad boycott during the month of July, Facebook wants us to accept the same old rhetoric, repackaged as a fresh response.”

Other civil rights groups called the meeting“very disappointing” and blasted Facebook for being “functionally flawed.”

Rashad Robinson, the head of Color of Change, said in a media call after the meeting that Facebook executives “showed up to the meeting expecting an A for attendance. Attending alone is not enough.”

Facebook said in a statement the groups “want Facebook to be free of hate speech and so do we.”

The social media giant reiterated it was taking steps to “keep hate off of our platform” adding, “We know we will be judged by our actions not by our words and are grateful to these groups and many others for their continued engagement.”

#StopHateFroProfit Campaign

A group of civil rights groups began pressuring major brands to stop advertising with Facebook until it promises to do more to stop hate speech, a movement they deemed the #StopHateForProfit campaign.

The social media giant said it’s taking steps to curb hate speech, but has not gone as far as other rivals like Twitter and Snap. Both social media sites have recently moved to label or play down untruthful or incendiary posts from President Trump on their platforms.

Zuckerberg has stuck to his guns, stressing the importance of free speech and arguing that Facebook is not an arbiter of posts. Last week, Zuckerberg told Facebook employees in a meeting last week he would not change his mind and that “My guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough.”

His stance has only created more of a backlash.

Facebook employees staged a virtual “walkout” last month to protest Zuckerberg’s position. After a flurry of companies pulled advertising last week, Zuckerberg personally lost $7 billion as shares of the social media company fell 8.3% on Friday and eliminated $56 billion from Facebook’s market value.

The companies that joined the ban included Adidas, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Chobani, Clorox, Coca-Cola, Denny’s Restaurants and others, which led to the meeting.

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