Facebook is a useful tool but in a large number of European and American countries, it is increasingly being used as a tool to recruit individuals to participate in white supremacy and other harmful content that goes against the spirit of equality, justice and freedom for people across race, ethnic, religious and cultural affiliations.
Facebook has become one of the most widely used platforms as far as the propagation and dissemination of hate speech and xenophobia is concerned and this should be widely condemned.
This misuse of Facebook is condemnable and unacceptable.
It destabilises users, spreads hatred, misinformation and ignites violence apart from spreading fake information and propaganda based news. The platform must take immediate cognisance of the matter and ensure that Facebook is not used to spread racial hatred, anti-people sentiments and violence against a particular ethnic/religious/racial communities.
In fact it was only recently that three Democratic lawmakers from the United States wrote a letter to Mark Zuckerberg and held him accountable for allowing extremist and white supremacists to organise on Facebook and mobilise thousands of people towards certain other groups.
This comes as a long over-due national reckoning against growing racial injustice in the United States. In the aftermath of the brutal killing of George Floyd, countless Americans of all races, ages and backgrounds have bravely come to the streets and demanded equality and justice for all. Facebook’s official stance holds that it will stand with the movement against violence against ethnic and religious minorities in America but on the other hand, it has failed to address the hate spreading on its platform and this highlights the significant gap between Facebook’s professed commitment to an anti-racial struggle that strives for equality for all and the company’s hidden and overt business interests that display a completely different story.
The letter from the lawmakers has come at a time when Facebook has already been facing a renewed scrutiny around the policies it stands by and many companies, corporations and groups have even accused it of spreading hatred for profit.
In fact, the #StopHateforProfit campaign that was launched by a group of civil rights organisation such as the Anti-Defamation League, Colour of Change and the NAACP have led to many important players in the market including mainstream brands such as Coca-Cola, Best Buy, Adidas, Reebok, Food and Verizon to withdraw their advertisements from the platform.
The fact that many mainstream brands and companies have temporarily decided against advertising on Facebook and punishing it for its white supremacist tendencies has certainly created a global debate and the company may soon be compelled to revise its priorities.
The civil rights bodies have put forward a series of demands on the group such as removal of groups that are centred on white supremacy and violent conspiracies, disabling its recommendations engine for more hate and conspiracy groups and to hire an executive who specialises in civil rights.