Facebook to release early findings from civil rights audit, activist group says

Color of Change says Facebook has a lot of work to do to regain the public's trust.

Marrian Zhou Staff Reporter
Marrian Zhou is a Beijing-born Californian living in New York City. She joined CNET as a staff reporter upon graduation from Columbia Journalism School. When Marrian is not reporting, she is probably binge watching, playing saxophone or eating hot pot.
Marrian Zhou
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Facebook told Color of Change that it'll release an update on the status of its civil rights audit by the end of this year.

Color of Change

We may know more about  Facebook 's civil rights audit soon.

Civil rights group Color of Change on Friday said Facebook has agreed to release an update on the status of its civil rights audit and early findings by the end of the year. The group on Thursday met with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and other executives at the social network's headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

Facebook has been working on the audit since last year, according to Color of Change. It will cover how Facebook deals with issues including hate speech, doxxing, voter suppression and the safety and security of users of color.

Facebook didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last week, Color of Change demanded the social network release its civil rights audit as well as any opposition research done on them by Definers Public Affairs. Facebook is facing scrutiny for allegedly hiring the public relations firm to "deflect" from the Russian interference crisis and spread information to the media about Facebook's critics, including Color of Change. 

Facebook ended its contract with Definers after The New York Times published an investigation on how the social network's executives dealt with crisis. Facebook has denied using the firm to push fake news, and Definers has said it wasn't hired by the social network for opposition research.

During Sandberg's meeting with Color of Change, she said Facebook will devote the resources needed to execute the civil rights audit and address the findings of it, according to Color of Change. The group also said Sandberg promised to evaluate the company's policies that subject people of color to discrimination and harm.

"We communicated to Ms. Sandberg that Facebook has a lot of work to do to gain public's trust, and failure to follow through and act will lead to a continued escalation in demands for accountability from Americans of all backgrounds, lawmakers and shareholders," said Rashad Robinson, the president at Color of Change, in a release. "Time will tell how committed Facebook's leadership is to real change but make no mistake, Color Of Change and our 1.4 million members aren't going anywhere."

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