Friday , January 21 2022

Civil rights groups are urging companies to suspend Facebook advertising

(Reuters) – Several US civil rights groups called on some of the world's largest companies to stop advertising on Facebook in July, saying the social network isn't doing enough to stop hate speech on its platforms.

The groups, which include the National Association for the Promotion of Colored People (NAACP) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), launched the "#StopHateforProfit" campaign here on Wednesday with a newspaper advertisement.

"The campaign is a response to Facebook's long history of disseminating racist, violent and demonstrably incorrect content on its platform," said the groups, urging companies to "send Facebook a strong message."

Nick Clegg, chief of Facebook politics, told reporters in a call that the company "strongly opposes hate speech" and removed 10 million hateful posts from its services in the last quarter.

The campaign follows the murder of African American George Floyd last month by the police, which has sparked widespread protests against racial discrimination in the United States.

Much of the protest activity took place on social media, as did the organization of right-wing extremist groups to promote racism and violence.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg was criticized after Facebook left a post by President Donald Trump unaffected by the protests, which critics said were racially charged and violated corporate rules against inciting violence.

House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that advertisers should use leverage to hold social media companies accountable. Pelosi spoke about COVID-19 misinformation in an online forum.

You and other Democrats have asked Facebook to step up measures against hate speech and misinformation, especially in political ads.

Facebook made some concessions this week and introduced transparency features and a promised tool that users can use to hide the ads, but has stuck to its hands-off approach.

The rights groups also include Sleeping Giants, Color Of Change, Free Press and Common Sense.

(Reporting by Ayanti Bera in Bengaluru; additional reporting from Elizabeth Culliford and Katie Paul in San Francisco; Edited by Sriraj Kalluvila, Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Sonya Hepinstall)

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