Facebook promises to do better after independent civil rights audit

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said Tuesday that the company would do a better job enforcing polices to fight the spread of hate after an independent civil rights audit.

Sandberg said in a Facebook post that the final report of the civil rights audit, which reviewed its policies for two years, will be published Wednesday, but the company has already made changes based on it.

“It has helped us learn a lot about what we could do better, and we have put many recommendations from the auditors and the wider civil rights community into practice,” Sandberg said.

At the beginning of her her post, Sandberg focused on enforcement of the social media company’s policy’s against hate as an area where it can “get better and faster.”

She added that she would meet with organizers of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign Tuesday, along with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other employees. They would also meet with other civil rights leaders, including Vanita Gupta of the Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Laura Murphy, the social media company’s civil rights auditor.

“We meet in the context of what may be the largest social movement in U.S. history, and our nation’s best and latest chance to act against racism that has pervaded our country since before our independence,” Sandberg said. “It’s a big moment for all of us, especially now. Much more than words, people, organizations and companies need to take action — and we at Facebook know what a big responsibility we have.”

Murphy led the civil rights audit along with Megan Cacace, partner in civil rights law firm Relman Colfax.

Sandberg said that Facebook is the first social media company to go through such an audit.

“While the audit was planned and most of it carried out long before recent events, its release couldn’t come at a more important time,” Sandberg said.

On June 17, the Stop Hate for Profit campaign asked companies to halt advertising on Facebook and Instagram for one month to force Zuckerberg to address hateful groups and voter suppression efforts on its platform.

“We are making changes — not for financial reasons or advertiser pressure, but because it is the right thing to do,” Sandberg said Tuesday. “We have worked for years to try to minimize the presence of hate on our platform. That’s why we agreed to undertake the civil rights audit two years ago.”

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