Last month, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg told his employees that it was an “operational mistake” that allowed an event page from a local militia to remain posted that promoted violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The page had been flagged for removal at least 455 times, yet the social media giant did nothing to remove it. A 17-year-old then drove to Wisconsin from Illinois and killed two protesters, and while no definitive link between the Facebook event and the shooter has been proven, Facebook still received heavy criticism for its inaction. And according to a prominent civil rights organization, Facebook has been ignoring warnings about similar groups for years.
“The horror in Kenosha is just one of the many tragic consequences of Facebook’s failure to heed our many warnings,” Muslim Advocates Public Advocacy Director Scott Simpson said. “Before more lives are lost, Facebook must act now by banning white nationalists, hate groups and militias from using the event pages and banning any event page that includes a call to arms.”
It’s always a good thing when Facebook gets called out for its failures, especially when it results in real-world harm. Hopefully these dedicated advocacy groups can continue pressuring the company to strengthen its policies and step up its efforts to remove incendiary content.
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