Washington, DC – The following is a reaction from Madihha Ahussain, special counsel for anti-Muslim bigotry at Muslim Advocates, to Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony declaring “we do not allow hate groups on Facebook. If there’s a group that their primary purpose or a large part of what they do is spreading hate, we will ban them from the platform overall:”
“We’re shocked by Zuckerberg’s claim today that Facebook does not allow any hate groups on their platform. For years, civil rights group have been urging Facebook to address the discrimination and bigotry on its platform, and, for years, the company has done little to meaningfully address our concerns.
In December of 2017, Muslim Advocates sent Facebook a list of 26 anti-Muslim hate groups that exist and organize on the platform. Today, to our knowledge, at least 23 of them are still organizing on Facebook. That list only accounts for Southern Poverty Law Center’s compilation of anti-Muslim groups and doesn’t not include the thousands of others organized to hate against other communities.
These are groups that organize protests outside of mosques, spread lies about Muslims, and demonize an entire religion – and yet Zuckerberg doesn’t find them hateful.
At yesterday’s hearing, Senator Booker echoed a request of ours that Facebook allow itself to be audited for bigotry and discrimination by civil rights groups. In his response, Zuckerberg called it “a very good idea.”
We’ve known it’s a good idea for a long time. We are also more sure than ever that it’s clearly needed. Companies like Airbnb have used audits like these to take responsibility for their platforms. They’ve hired seasoned professionals, listened to them, and made corrections to ensure that their platform doesn’t only serve the most privileged members of society.
Mr. Zuckerberg, the time for a full civil rights audit is now.”
Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths.