For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Shin Inouye, inouye@civilrights.org, 202.869.0398

Facebook’s New Policy Endangers Democracy, Zuckerberg Pushes Ahead Anyway

WASHINGTON - Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement on Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s remarks at Georgetown University today. The remarks follow recent policy changes announced by Facebook to exempt politicians’ speech from its Community Standards and its fact-checking program:

“For more than a year, we have worked in good faith with Facebook to develop robust policies to combat voter suppression. But Facebook’s policy exempting politicians’ content from the company’s Community Standards and its fact-checking program undermines all of that progress and will do irreparable damage to our democracy. While we can all agree that free expression is core to our democracy, fair elections must be as well.

“The fact that Zuckerberg would even invoke civil rights icons in remarks that justify his decision to exempt politicians’ speech from Facebook’s Community Standards underscores his willful refusal to accept how voter suppression has played out, from Jim Crow to now. He is in denial and so is his company. Indeed, Zuckerberg remains silent on how Facebook will fight intentional misinformation by politicians. This reckless behavior presents a growing threat to our democracy. We urge Facebook to correct course and close this exemption, or at least subject the speech to third party fact checking, put up warnings, and require disclosures.”

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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. Through advocacy and outreach to targeted constituencies, The Leadership Conference works toward the goal of a more open and just society – an America as good as its ideals.

The Leadership Conference is a 501(c)(4) organization that engages in legislative advocacy.  It was founded in 1950 and has coordinated national lobbying efforts on behalf of every major civil rights law since 1957.

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