“Facebook wants us to accept the same old rhetoric, repackaged as a fresh response,” the Stop Hate for Profit campaign said in a statement after meeting Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg and Chief Product Officer Christopher Cox. The #StopHateforProfit campaign, started by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), had called on corporate advertisers to stop advertising on Facebook until the company overhauled its content moderation policies to stem hate speech and vitriol targeting minorities on the platform. Of the 10 demands that the campaign had raised, Facebook “attempted to address” only one — hiring a civil rights position — but did not commit to whether this would be a C-suite level position or what the requirements for the position would be.
In addition to ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson, Color of Change President Rashad Robinson and Free Press CO-CEO Jessica J. González attended the meeting. Greenblatt tweeted his dissatisfaction: “Today’s meeting with Mark Zuckerberg and his leadership yielded familiar results: no changes, no timeline, no response to our specific requests,” he wrote, adding that “Facebook could be made safer and better for its users, advertisers and society on a whole” “with a stroke of pen”, but “they don’t have interest in doing that”. Robinson called the meeting a “disappointment”.
In response to the reputational damage caused by corporate clients pausing Facebook advertising under the #StopHateforProfit campaign, Facebook had eventually ceded to labelling hateful content by politicians.
Oversight Board’s operations delayed
If the lacklustre response from Facebook’s top three executives was not enough, two hours after ADL put out its statement, Facebook announced that its Oversight Board will not be operational until “late Fall”. The Oversight Board is meant to review content moderation decisions taken by Facebook, decisions that will be final and binding, and cannot be overruled by Facebook or its CEO Mark Zuckerberg. When the company had announced the Board’s first 20 members in May, it had said that the Board would start hearing cases “in the coming months”. At the time of publication, none of the 12 members who are on Twitter had commented on this announcement. Eight members are not there on Twitter (Endy Bayuni, Katherine Chen, Emi Palmor, Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei András Sajó, Pamela Karlan, John Samples, Michael McConnell).
Demands raised by #StopHateforProfit campaign
The campaign had made ten demands:
- Permanent civil rights infrastructure that would include a C-suite level executive who would check products and policies for discrimination, bias and hate.
- Independent audits of identity-based hate and misinformation whose results are published on a publicly accessible website. “A ‘transparency report’ is only as good as its author is independent,” the demand read.
- Provide refund to advertisers whose ads were shown next to content that was later removed for violating terms of service, along with the audit.
- Find and remove public and private groups that focus on white supremacy, militia, antisemitism, violent conspiracies, Holocaust denialism, vaccine misinformation, and climate denialism.
- Adopt changes to policies recommended by Change the Terms to stop radicalization and hate on the platform.
- Don’t recommend or amplify content from groups associated with hate, misinformation or conspiracies.
- Automatically flag hateful content in private groups for human review.
- Eliminate political exemption to ensure accuracy in political and voting matters.
- Have expert teams review submissions of identity-based hate and harassment.
- Victims of severe hate and harassment should be able to connect to an actual Facebook employee.