Civil rights organizers calling for an advertising boycott of Facebook said their meeting on Tuesday with company CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg was ultimately a “disappointment.”
In a scathing statement on the Stop Hate for Profit website, which urges brands to pull Facebook advertising for the month of July, organizers said it “was abundantly clear in our meeting today that Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook team is not yet ready to address the vitriolic hate on their platform.”
“Zuckerberg offered the same old defense of white supremacist, antisemitic, Islamophobic and other hateful groups on Facebook that the Stop Hate for Profit Coalitions, advertisers and society at large have heard too many times before,” the statement reads.
The group continued: “Zuckerberg offered no automatic recourse for advertisers whose content runs alongside hateful posts. He had no answer for why Facebook recommends hateful groups to users. He refused to agree to provide an option for victims of hate and harassment to connect with a live Facebook representative ... And he did not offer any tangible plans on how Facebook will address the rampant disinformation and violent conspiracies on its platform.”
Stop Hate for Profit’s website lists 10 major demands, including that Facebook submit to regular independent audits and delete public and private groups focused on disinformation, conspiracy theories and white supremacy.
According to the group’s statement, Facebook made no attempt to address the majority of these demands during the meeting, aside from the request to hire a civil rights consultant — though neither Zuckerberg nor Sandberg would commit to that role being at the C-suite level, Stop Hate for Profit said.
“None of this is hard,” the statement said of the demands, “especially for one of the world’s most innovative companies whose founder coined the term move fast and break things. Mark Zuckerberg, you aren’t breaking things, you are breaking people.”
Members of the Stop Hate for Profit collective, including Color of Change President Rashad Robinson, who had previously accused Zuckerberg of an “arrogant” unwillingness to police hate speech, reiterated their disappointment on social media.
In a Facebook post prior to the meeting, Sandberg acknowledged that the company “has to get better at finding and removing hateful content” but was adamant that it had made progress and would release a two-year independent civil rights audit on Thursday.
The NAACP, one of the advocacy groups comprising Stop Hate for Profit, said in a statement to HuffPost it “await[ed] the release of tomorrow’s civil rights audit report” and would continue to “hold Facebook accountable and work for real change.”
Companies currently participating in Stop Hate for Profit’s initiative to remove Facebook ads for July include Adidas, Ben & Jerry’s, The North Face, Unilever and Verizon (which owns Verizon Media, HuffPost’s parent company).