What civil rights leaders hope to hear from Facebook in meeting

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Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg meets Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group Jack Ma (not pictured), at the China Development Forum in Beijing, China, March 19, 2016. 

Shu Zhang | Reuters

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg plan to meet on Tuesday with leaders from the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change, which are three of the groups that have led the call for what is now a widespread advertiser boycott of Facebook’s platform. The are trying to pressure Facebook to do more to stop the spread of hate speech and misinformation.”

Ahead of the meeting, Sandberg wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday morning that the meeting with organizers with #StopHateForProfit would be followed by a meeting with other civil rights leaders, including Vanita Gupta from the Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, Sherrilyn Ifill from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Laura W. Murphy, Facebook’s Civil Rights Auditor. 

She wrote that the final report of a independent civil rights audit of its policies and practices would also be published Wednesday.

“While the audit was planned and most of it carried out long before recent events, its release couldn’t come at a more important time,” she writes in the post. “It has helped us learn a lot about what we could do better, and we have put many recommendations from the auditors and the wider civil rights community into practice. While we won’t be making every change they call for, we will put more of their proposals into practice soon.” 

Sandberg said the company is making changes “not for financial reasons or advertiser pressure” but because it’s “the right thing to do.” 

But Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said on CNBC’s Squawk Box Tuesday morning said this response was not a “good-faith effort.” 

“If this were a good-faith effort to release the audit, they wouldn’t be shoehorning it in, accelerating its release, timed with our meeting today,” he said. “If this were a good-faith effort, they would have already given us how they’re responding to our recommendations, rather than spinning with a Facebook post hours before the meeting.”

Greenblatt said the leaders will ask Facebook to put civil rights leadership inside its C-suite, and ask for regular, independent audits published on how they’re dealing with hate content.  

“What they need to do is realize we’re not talking about a technology problem. We’re talking about a values problem. Does Mark Zuckerberg believe this is an annoyance or a business imperative,” he said.

Though it’s hard to build a multi-billion dollar advertising behemoth, “It’s not hard to remove the KKK from your service,” he said.

“We just need Mark, we need Facebook’s leadership to apply the pressure to get this done. If they don’t see the urgency, maybe now that 1,000 advertisers have stepped up, maybe now they finally will.” 

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