ADL joins with other civil-rights groups in calling for July boycott of Facebook

June 19, 2020 by JNS
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The U.S. Anti-Defamation League, along with several civil-rights groups, is calling for corporations to boycott Facebook in July over its unwillingness to ban hate speech on the social-media company’s platform.

Jason Greenblatt, CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League. Credit: ADL.

The groups, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense, launched a full-page ad in The Los Angeles Times on Wednesday saying Facebook has not done enough to combat hate and disinformation.

“We have long seen how Facebook has allowed some of the worst elements of society into our homes and our lives. When this hate spreads online it causes tremendous harm and also becomes permissible offline,” ADL national director and CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement.

Noting that Facebook had “repeatedly failed” to act, Greenblatt said that “we hope this campaign finally shows Facebook how much their users and their advertisers want them to make serious changes for the better.”

Last November, actor and comedian Sasha Baron Cohen, upon receiving the Anti-Defamation League’s International Fellowship Award, ripped into Facebook and other social-media giants for allowing hate speech to flourish on their platforms.

“I believe it’s time for a fundamental rethink of social media and how it spreads hate, conspiracies and lies,” Cohen said at the ADL conference.

Last October, the ADL accepted a $2.5 million donation from Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg in the aftermath of the anti-Semitic attack on a synagogue in Halle, Germany.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has faced continued criticism for not doing more to police its platform for false or misleading statements, including from U.S. President Donald Trump. Instead, the social media company has launched a massive drive to boost voter registration across its platforms as part of a “Voting Information Centre” to help educate voters on how to register, find polling places or vote by mail.

On Thursday, Facebook removed Trump campaign ads targeting Antifa that featured an upside-down red triangle that apparently resembled a Nazi symbol. Facebook removed the ads after the ADL said it closely resembled badges the Nazis used to identify political prisoners in concentration camps, reported The Washington Post.

In Australia, Dr Andre Oboler, CEO of the Online Hate Prevention Institute commented: “It is about time the ADL woke up to the danger of antisemitism and other forms of hate on Facebook and other major social media platforms. I’ve been raising this with them since 2008. The close relationship between the ADL and Facebook for many years, as well documented in the book Viral Hate, has done more to shield Facebook from criticism, and raise funds for the ADL, than it has done to stop the normalisation of hate in society. This problem is in part of the ADL’s own making.

Facebook has got much better over this time, largely due to efforts from Europe and Australia, and it is no longer the primary problem, just the largest target. There are still plenty of improvements Facebook could make, but Facebook needs help identifying those changes. The best thing the ADL can do is to get out of the way and stop shielding Facebook. It is great to see this starting to happen. We must hope it is more than just a temporary tactic. Facebook for its part needs expert advice and it needs to start getting it from a far wider cross-section of civil society from around the world.”
The Anti-Defamation Commission did not respond to a request for a comment.

JNS

Comments

One Response to “ADL joins with other civil-rights groups in calling for July boycott of Facebook”
  1. Rabbi Chaim Ingram OAM says:

    I shall certainly be boycotting Facebook in July. Also in August, September, October and beyond. In fact I have never been a Facebook user and don’t ever intend to be. I have, thank G-D, far better things to do with my time.

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