Facebook ‘boycott’ meeting with civil rights leaders ‘a disappointment’

Hundreds of brands have paused advertising for the entire month of July.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg And News Corp CEO Robert Thomson Debut Facebook News
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Civil rights groups say Facebook is all talk and no action when it comes to removing racist, hateful and misleading content from the platform. 

On Tuesday, leaders from the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Color of Change and Free Press met with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, to discuss the demands of a massive advertiser boycott on the social networking service, CNBC reports. 

At the urging of several civil rights organizations, lead by the NAACP, hundreds of brands have paused advertising for the entire month of July as part of the #StopHateforProfit campaign that was launched in mid-June.

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The movement calls on Facebook to do more to curb the spread of hate speech and misinformation. In a statement, the advocacy groups slammed the service for “allowing racist, violent and verifiably false content to run rampant on its platform.”

The meeting Tuesday, held via video conference, was meant to address the groups’ 10 demands and how Facebook is handling hate content. Instead of squashing tensions over the widespread advertiser boycott, that includes Starbucks, Coca-Cola and Levi’s, Zuckerberg served up a dry nothingburger

“The meeting we just left was a disappointment,” said Color Of Change Executive Director Rashad Robinson during a Zoom press conference. “They showed up to the meeting expecting an A for attendance.”

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt also noted during the presser that the group outlined their 10 demands during the meeting and “we didn’t get commitments or timeframes or clear outcomes,” he said. 

“We expected specifics, and that’s not what we heard,” he added.

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“All Mark needs to do, all Facebook needs to do, is once and for all say ‘White supremacy, racism, anti-semitism, anti-Muslim hate, xenophobia — once and for all, it has to stop, and that stops now,’” Greenblatt continued. 

In a press release, Free Press also addressed the meeting, noting that the ″#StopHateForProfit didn’t hear anything today to convince us that Zuckerberg and his colleagues are taking action. 

The release went on to say, “Instead of committing to a timeline to root out hate and disinformation on Facebook, the company’s leaders delivered the same old talking points to try to placate us without meeting our demands.” 

A Facebook spokesman said the goal of the meeting was to listen, learn and commit to being “free of hate speech.”

“We know we will be judged by our actions not by our words and are grateful to these groups and many others for their continued engagement,” the spokesman said in a statement.

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