Civil Rights Groups Demand Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg Step Down From Facebook's Board

Dhir Acharya - Dec 20, 2018

Civil Rights Groups Demand Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg Step Down From Facebook's Board

30 civil rights groups have sent a letter demanding Facebook CEO and COO step down from the board of director at Facebook.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg are facing pressure to resign from the company’s BOD (board of directors) from civil rights groups. According to these group, the two executives are responsible for “generating bigotry and hatred towards vulnerable communities.”

On Monday night, a letter was sent to Zuck from a total of 30 groups including, Equality Labs, Muslim Advocates, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Accordingly, the groups demand the board to be restructured for improvement in senior leadership accountability regarding recent scandals of the company.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho civil rights groups call for Facebook leaders to step down

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO

In the letter, the opponents stated that it cannot be denied that the current leadership group at Facebook has failed to tackle serious issues relating to the civil rights community. The letter stressed that it is high time Facebook changed not only its policies but also the structure of its BOD.

As cited from an NYT’s report published on November 14, Facebook hired a PR company to discredit the criticism against it, claiming they were George Soros’ agents.

In response to evidence for the misuse of Facebook to spread viral propaganda as well as encourage deadly bigoted campaigns, its executives obviously ignored the issue or took action to prevent meaningful regulation. Worse, the company appeared to redirect public opinion against its allies and attacked its critics personally. The letter alleged that despite the opportunity to do right, the long time to fix things, and the beneficial inputs from advocacy groups and experts to solve the matters occurring on its platform, Facebook chose to attack civil rights groups and their allies instead.

After the report went public, Zuckerberg, in a conference call, said he was not aware of the partnership with the PR company responsible for Soros attacks. Additionally, Zuckerberg also claimed that COO Sandberg was not related to the event. Communications and policy outgoing head at Facebook, Elliot Schrage, later took this responsibility.

Zuckerberg referred to a statement from what he called “independent body,” saying they have the power to make decisions and are transparent about their decision making, and that he cannot overrule that body. The problem is, Zuckerberg has control over 60% of total voting shares at the company so what does that mean?

Not only do the civil right groups want to fire Zuck and Sandberg but they also want to add three more seats to the board for more diversity, appoint an independent and permanent official for civil rights to the board, and sack Joel Kaplan, global public policy VP at Facebook.

Also, the groups demand an apology from Facebook to every organization that was targeted by Definers Public Affairs’ targeting (the PR firm Facebook hired) as well as public all documents relating to the PR firm.

There haven’t been any responses from Facebook.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho sheryl sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO

On Tuesday, however, Sandberg publicized an update of the audit on Facebook’s civil rights, which was nine pages long. The audit took place in May, conducted by Laura Murphy – a civil rights leader.

In her statement, Sandberg said that the company pledges to partner with civil rights organizations in the US for strengthening and advancing civil rights on their platform. She also showed gratefulness towards the activists’ frankness and guidance. She admitted that Facebook needs to listen more, take a deeper look, and take actual actions in this matter.

Murphy applauded Facebook in the update for its support for voter engagement, elimination of fake accounts, the partnership with election protection and voting rights groups, as well as its effort to stop voter suppression.

Murphy also reminds of the work in the next year to ensure systematic change.

Also on Tuesday, special counsel for anti-Muslim bigotry Madihha Ahussain at Muslim Advocates said that the update only clarifies how little Facebook has done to tackle discrimination and bigotry on its network. Plus, what Sandberg said is the proof of Facebook’s lack of understanding that we need significant changes right now.

Ahussain firmly said they maintain their demand for a restructuring in Facebook’s board of director.


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