Members of the Disinfo Defense League have issued the following statements in response to the ongoing exposure of Facebook’s dangerously unethical practices, including ignoring repeated warnings from employees about the risks and harm of their algorithm, promoting disinformation and threatening content to marginalized communities, and consistently putting profits over public safety. Facebook’s troubling inaction in response to the racist, misogynist and otherwise bigoted content on the website has been well known for years – Black women and other vulnerable communities, who have been particularly harmed by social media misinfo, disinfo and harassment have been sounding the alarm to no avail from those in power. Disinfo Defense League stands with our members who are calling on Facebook to radically change its practices and for legislators to regulate big tech. These regulations must be particularly conscious of the racialized impact of online disinformation.
“The latest whistleblower revelations confirm what many of us have been sounding the alarm about for years. Facebook is not fit to govern itself,” said Jessica J. González, co-CEO of Free Press. “Instead, it’s conducting a serial coverup of practices that amplify disinformation and hate and put communities of color and other minorities at great risk. Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives have testified repeatedly before Congress and nothing has changed. It’s time for Congress and the Biden administration to investigate a Facebook business model that puts profits before people. It’s time for immediate action to hold the company accountable for the many harms it’s inflicted on our democracy.”
“Facebook puts profit over people. In recent weeks, whistleblowers have once again confirmed what we’ve long known: Facebook’s business model is harmful to all of us, particularly Black and brown people and immigrants,” said Juanita Monsalve, Senior Marketing and Creative Director of United We Dream. “Regardless of its deadly effects, Facebook has purposefully allowed racialized disinformation to run rampant on its platform. They are complicit with white supremacist movements, allowing them to target seemingly vulnerable communities for recruitment, and normalizing racism and xenophobia. Facebook is knowingly engaging in destructive racist behavior that is hurtful to Black, brown and immigrant communities, and the federal government must respond by prohibiting the usage of their discriminatory algorithms.”
“The Facebook Papers have confirmed our long-held suspicions that executives at the company have repeatedly and systematically put the profit of the company ahead of the safety of its users,” said Erin Shields, National Field Organizer of MediaJustice. “These disturbing patterns of undermining safety policies cannot be obscured through PR or well-crafted press statements. Mark Zuckerberg must step down and Facebook’s regulators must use all available powers to limit ongoing and future harms, particularly toward Black, brown and other marginalized communities who have been disproportionately impacted.
“Time and time again, Big Tech chooses profits over people. Facebook continues to ignore calls to action from communities facing threats of violence,” Kelly Boehms, People’s Action Digital Outreach Organizer. “Facebook fuels and profits from radicalization and polarization online, and ignores the real-world consequences of its greed and inaction. We need to regulate Big Tech and address the violence and division caused by disinformation on platforms like Facebook. Our democracy depends on it.”
“Racial justice and tech accountability groups have repeatedly raised concerns about activists of color being ‘Zucked,’ an increase in voter suppression content, and real-life dangers caused by Facebook. The revelations uncovered by whistleblower Frances Haugen confirm what many of us have known for a long time through personal experiences,” said Jelani Drew-Davi, Kairos Campaign Director. “Facebook is not just dishonest about its efforts to increase the integrity of its platforms — it has also purposely put Black, brown, and other marginalized individuals directly in harm’s way. Even when called out for prioritizing his profits over our safety, Mark Zuckerberg chose in his first public remarks since the Facebook Papers leak to boast about the company’s financial position. On November 10, we’re kicking off the Facebook Log Out, a user-strike to remind Zuckerberg and the company that it’s us, the users, who hold the power and we demand accountability.”
“When I told Mark Zuckerberg directly that allowing Trump’s race-baiting vitriol would inflame violence on the platform, he gaslit me and denied the concerns of Color Of Change members,” said Rashad Robinson, president of Color Of Change. Now the Facebook Papers have confirmed what Color Of Change has warned for years: Facebook continuously prioritizes profits and growth over the safety and welfare of its users. Their financial allegiances have long subjected Black users to harm and exploitation as they overlook the spread of hate speech and racism on their platform. Per their own research, Black Americans are among the most active on the platform and, consequently, the most impacted by disproportionately predatory and negligent policies. The tech giant, along with the rest of Big Tech, has an obligation to its Black users, but our community cannot wait another day for the company to decide when to take accountability. Color Of Change is calling for leadership in Congress to take legislative action that will curtail Facebook’s extending power to put our communities in harm’s way.”
To connect with spokespeople from the Disinfo Defense League and its partner groups, please contact Hannah Ross at 301-857-1979 or [email protected].
About the Disinfo Defense League
Disinfo Defense League (DDL) is a distributed national network for Black and brown community-based organizations that are disrupting disinformation campaigns deliberately targeting Black, Latinx, Asian American / Pacific Islander and other communities of color. DDL was created by and for these communities, and is supported by services and insight provided by expert partners. Launched in June 2020, DDL uses coordinated strategy, disinformation training, and research to support more than 200 member organizations with resources to fortify and scale current inoculation efforts and increase cohesion and collaboration in targeted communities. Learn more: https://www.disinfodefenseleague.org/