For Immediate Release: August 26, 2020
Color Of Change: Facebook is Complicit in Deadly Kenosha Shootings For Failing to Block Online Hate Group, Even After Receiving Policy Violation Reports
NATIONWIDE — In response to reports that Facebook knowingly allowed the group Kenosha Guard to use the social media platform to encourage an armed response to protests in Kenosha, WI spurred by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson released the following statement:
“We have long warned that Facebook’s cultivation of white supremacy and hate groups on its platform is a deadly threat to Black Americans and our allies. The violent killings of two protestors, demonstrating their right to assemble freely, come at the hands of white nationalist, far-right militia and other hate groups who organize, communicate and recruit new members on Facebook.
Facebook will claim this was an oversight — that they’ve made tangible progress to weed out bad actors — but new reports reveal the company ignored multiple policy violation reports from users about the Kenosha Guard Facebook group account and its “call to arms” event page.
The growing presence of white nationalist groups in this country cannot be met with a passive response from the most powerful social media company in the world. This crisis of hate-fueled violence requires immediate, drastic action from Facebook and all other platforms on which these groups gather. Facebook’s superficial policy changes mean nothing when they aren’t enforced. The need for real structural change at Facebook is clear.
By continuing to pay lip service to address targeted hate speech, Facebook has once again shown it is incapable of self-regulating and handling the responsibility of protecting its users. Under Facebook policy chief Joel Kaplan’s leadership, the company has knowingly allowed its recommendation tools to drive users to hate groups on the platform, demonstrating a prioritization of the protection of white nationalist voices for profit over the protection of Black people. Kaplan has aligned himself with forces that have defended white nationalists and has fueled the weaponization of false claims of bias against conservatives.
Black people already face undue suppression, harassment and hate on Facebook and now, because of the company’s inaction, face life-threatening harm from hate groups that are taking their vitriol to the streets.
Once again, peaceful Black advocates are called on to take the high road while being subjected to unprovoked violence by law enforcement and threats from hate groups and far-right militias. We will continue to fight back by organizing, registering Black Americans to vote and calling out those in power who are complicit every single time these groups attack or kill one of us.”
Color Of Change today launched a petition encouraging its seven million members to tell Facebook to stop fueling hate group recruitment. This is the latest in Color Of Change’s years-long effort to hold Facebook accountable for discrimination, hate speech and misinformation targeting Black users.
About Color Of Change:
Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force, 7million people have taken action with Color Of Change this year. We move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America. Visit www.colorofchange.org.