Dear Facebook Board of Directors,
We the undersigned write to express our outrage over the information contained inside of the “Facebook Papers” which show that executives at Facebook have repeatedly and systematically put the profit of the company ahead of the safety of its users. Facebook Chairman and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, bears responsibility for these faults. The undersigned groups have no confidence in Mark Zuckerberg’s ability to lead Facebook in a way that demonstrates a commitment to ending its harm to our communities. That is why we are calling on Mark Zuckerberg to resign as the CEO and Chairman of Facebook.
Our organizations have been engaging with Facebook in good faith for over 5 years in an effort to advocate for changes which would protect its most vulnerable users and address problems facing the platform like stemming the rise of hateful content and stopping the spread of racialized disinformation. We’ve devoted countless resources and expertise in pursuit of these efforts. Recent news reporting affirms what we’ve long known about Facebook’s content moderation policies, that Facebook’s rules don’t apply to everyone equally. The “XCheck” system allowed privileged voices, like those of Donald Trump, immunity from enforcement.
Moreover, the Facebook Papers show that Mark Zuckerberg has willingly allowed Facebook to become a more toxic platform, resisting changes that would stem the virality of hateful and racist content because it would drive down engagement metrics. Our organizations have seen the consequences of Facebook’s poor leadership in the communities we work in. Hate speech and targeted harassment of women, particularly Black women and transwomen, proliferates on Facebook’s platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. Life threatening disinformation about the false risks of abortions to misinformation about “reverse abortions” quite literally puts people at risk of making profound, life altering decisions with inaccurate information. And, the removal and shadowbanning of Black activists, especially Black women and Black trans activists, demonstrates the bias encoded into the Facebook algorithm. COVID misinformation has spread extensively on Facebook-owned platforms like WhatsApp and targeted Black and Latinx communities. Hateful content targeting Muslims and immigrants have transitioned from online posts to offline incidents of violence. And a false narrative of a stolen election grew on Facebook following November 2020 and fueled the January 6th insurrection.
Facebook has often responded to these moments of crisis by repeating the line that it bears no responsibility, and while that might make for good PR, it erodes the trust between the company and the people that make up its community. Young people are increasingly leaving Facebook and Instagram, while employees pressure for change both inside and outside. Our organizations have lost faith that engaging with the company can lead to any tangible positive change and are now pushing for more regulatory oversight.
As the governing body of Facebook, it is your duty to rectify this failure in leadership and effectuate change. It is clear that Facebook’s mission of giving “people the power to build community and bring the world closer together,” cannot be accomplished with Mark Zuckerberg as CEO. He must resign and allow new leadership to step in that can move the company forward with greater transparency and accountability to the global community that has been harmed by Facebook’s actions.
18 Million Rising
Action Center of Race and the Economy
Facebook Users Union
Fight for the Future
Friends of the Earth
Liberation in a Generation
May First Movement Technology
National Hispanic Media Coalition
Open MIC (Open Media & Information Companies Initiative)
The Sparrow Project
United We Dream