So, the Leadership Conference, the organization I work for, pushed Facebook to actually start a civil rights audit.
A bunch of our organizations were pushing for this. And over the last year, I will say, there had been some progress made. As I said, they had announced a policy to really combat hate on the platform. They were settling some more of the housing litigation and announcing a policy to combat unlawful targeting, racial targeting in their ads policies.
The problem is, is, we were starting to make a little bit of progress on voter and census — fighting — having set Facebook fight voter and census disinformation and misinformation.
But this recent announcement basically has threatened to undermine all of that, because it allows for politicians, as I said, who are the very perpetrators of voter suppression historically, basically to go completely without any checks on them whatsoever.
And what’s kind of created this massive cognitive dissonance is, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg are saying, no, no, no, Facebook will take the elections and voter suppression very seriously. We will take down when officials might lie about a polling location or poll hours.
What they’re failing to recognize is that, in 2019, voter suppression looks a lot more like racial appeals, like deliberate campaigns for misinformation. You could have local officials basically do a coordinated campaign, saying, we were going to have police officers stationed outside of every majority black neighborhood on Election Day.
Or we could have local officials or the president say, you know what, if you fill out the census, and you’re Latino, we’re going to give your information to ICE.
And what Facebook is saying is, that’s fine. Even though it’s completeness information, we’re going to allow that to stand.