Facebook has been accused of racism for taking down too many posts by Black Lives Matter activists.
The social network was accused of taking “disproportionate” action against posts by black people – while failing to pursue white supremacists.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg was sent a scathing letter by a group of social justice organisations, accusing his site of “disproportionate censorship of Facebook users of color or Facebook’s interactions with law enforcement”.
Seventy-seven groups put their name to the statement, which calls on Facebook to rewrite its policies on censorship and provide staff with mandatory training on racism.
Their letter said:
Activists in the Movement for Black Lives have routinely reported the takedown of images discussing racism and during protests, with the justification that it violates Facebook’s Community Standards.
At the same time, harassment and threats directed at activists based on their race, religion, and sexual orientation is thriving on Facebook. Many of these activists have reported such harassment and threats by users and pages on Facebook only to be told that they don’t violate Facebook’s Community Standards.
Similar experiences have been reported by Facebook users from a variety of communities, yet your recent response indicates you are adequately addressing the problem. We disagree.
This pattern of censorship represents a double standard, one that seems to be addressed only through direct activist intervention or significant media attention. We believe more can be done to ensure every Facebook user has the ability to engage on the platform without harassment or undue censorship.
The same activists had earlier complained to Zuckerberg and Facebook’s director of global policy, Joel Kaplan.
Kaplan wrote back, but the group deemed his response “inadequate” and is demanding a face-to-face meeting at the company HQ in Menlo Park, California, in the next month.