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For Immediate Release: September 3, 2020
Color Of Change Responds to Facebook’s US Election Policy Updates
NATIONWIDE — In response to Facebook’s announcement today of additional steps it will take on the platform ahead of the November election, Color Of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization, released the following statement from President Rashad Robinson:
“Facebook's new election policy updates indicate a step forward in the right direction, as the company is acknowledging the existence of harmful forces on the platform that seek to undermine our democratic process and the need to address, on a systemic level, its fundamental flaws that allow misinformation and hate to proliferate on its platform.
This move comes as a result of years-long pressure from civil rights groups including Color Of Change, which has tirelessly pushed Facebook to commit to a set of policies that effectively protect its users from misinformation, far-right conspiracy theories, and targeted hate. This push includes some progress with what has been announced by Facebook today, like its commitment to label mail-in misinformation from Trump, remove posts by bad actors who use the threat of the global pandemic to dissuade citizens from voting, and expand the definition of content considered an attempt at voter suppression.
But we all know that Facebook still has much more work to do to make certain its policies truly root out voter suppression and disinformation.
Facebook’s decision to ban all new political ads in the one-week period prior to the election will in effect silence everyone, suppressing the ability of civil rights groups to ensure vital voting rights messages reach their members and providing an inherent advantage to far-right conspiracy theorists and drivers of misinformation. Political ads are not the only problem, as election misinformation can still be shared via posts, which Facebook’s core algorithms are built to spread and overtake legitimate news sources.
We must also emphasize that Facebook’s latest election-related commitments are just a small fraction of the equation. The real test lies in the company’s willingness to enforce its proposed policy changes, and as long as decision-makers like Facebook policy chief Joel Kaplan are influencing enforcement, stacking the odds in favor of the far-right and Trump, we cannot take the company’s policy changes at face value.
No one person or platform should have this much power over the fate of our democracy. Our chance at a fair election process still hangs in the balance, and we must continue to remain vigilant in holding Facebook accountable.
Until Congress intervenes to ensure social media giants like Facebook adequately protect our civil rights, and our free elections — user safety, and the sanctity of truth will continue to be compromised and up for grabs.”
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 driven by over 7 million members, 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.