Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg urged to help protect civil rights

Dozens of rights groups say Facebook has "reckless disregard for civil rights."

Corinne Reichert Senior Writer
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert

Dozens of rights groups say Facebook has "reckless disregard for civil rights."

Angela Lang/CNET

A letter from dozens of civil and human rights organizations has been sent to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, urging him to ensure the social media platform helps protect such rights. The letter, sent by the coalition called the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, was published online Monday and accuses Facebook of "reckless disregard for civil rights."

"Our trust in the company is sorely broken," the letter says. 

Pointing to Zuckerberg's recent meetings with conservatives, the letter says they are "deeply disappointed that you have not extended the same courtesy to the civil rights leaders."

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Over the years, the group alleges that Facebook has engaged in discriminatory advertising; has allowed content containing white nationalism and supremacy to be posted on its platform; and has aided voter and census suppression when it failed to "safeguard its platform against Russian interference" during elections.

The letter asks Facebook to create a civil rights office, as well as an independent civil rights ombudsman. It also demands a more diverse board and staff and says the social media platform should bar employees from associating with hate groups and white nationalist groups.

The letter was signed by multiple organizations, including the National LGBTQ Task Force, The Human Rights Campaign, Muslim Public Affairs Council, Feminist Majority, Color Of Change, American Federation of Teachers, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, Asian Americans Advancing Justice and Ranking Digital Rights.