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For Immediate Release

Contact

 Alex Goss, agoss@fenton.com

Press Release

Facebook Must Answer For Dangerous Embrace of Anti-Semitism, Racist Targeting of Color Of Change

WASHINGTON -

Rashad Robinson, President of Color Of Change, released the following statement in response to the New York Times report of Facebook’s attacks against Color Of Change:

“Facebook is violating its most fundamental mission of building human connection, as well as the trust placed in it by billions of people, by advancing extremist far-right conspiracy theories that are aimed at denigrating Jews and belittling people of color. It is reprehensible, it is dangerous, and they should be ashamed.

“Facebook's response to our campaign, which challenged them to improve their platform and create safe conditions for Black people and other marginalized groups, was to fan the flames of anti-Semitism. By suggesting to reporters that Color Of Change is acting as the puppet of Mr. Soros merely because he is one of our many funders, they have given oxygen to the worst anti-Semitic conspiracy theories of the white nationalist Trump base. Those theories aim to not only dehumanize Jews, but also seek to deny legitimacy to progressive social movements led by people of color, by suggesting we have no agenda of our own. They are an attempt to divert attention from the conservative movement’s real attacks on our community’s vote, our health care, our liberty, and our jobs. And they breed violence. Facebook has become part of the same ecosystem that fed the fever dreams of Cesar Sayoc, accused of targeting Soros and others with pipe bombs, and Robert Bowers, the man who massacred 11 Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue.

“Our work with Facebook began after the murder of Korryn Gaines by police. We’ve sat across the negotiating table with Facebook for years, focusing on the goal of ensuring the safety of its Black users. The recent New York Times story shows that while we were operating in good faith trying to protect our communities, they were stooping lower than we’d ever imagined, using anti-Semitism as a crowbar to kneecap a Black-led organization working to hold them accountable.

“Facebook now must make amends. It must apologize. And it must:

  1. Immediately fire Joel Kaplan for his role in this scheme and the PR firms Facebook worked with to delegitimize Color Of Change and our partners. 
  2. Release all of the opposition research documents they compiled on Color Of Change and our allies so that we can understand the full extent Facebook went to undermine civil rights work.
  3. Release the data on voter suppression attempts on the platform. In an October 15th statement, Facebook announced changes about voter suppression and voter manipulation. Given the revelations about how the company handled 2016 election interference, a full and public disclosure is required. If the company does not comply, House Democrats should subpoena the records.
  4. Commit to a public release of the civil rights audit including meaningful steps to address the harms raised.”

###

Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over one million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America.

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