Civil rights groups urge Facebook CEO to help prevent harm

San Francisco, Oct 22 (IANS) A coalition of more than 45 civil rights groups has written a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, urging him to act against discrimination on the social media platform and make prevention of harm its goal.

The coalition, including the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund and South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), accuses Facebook of “reckless disregard for civil rights.”

“Your meetings with conservative stakeholders have been well documented. We are deeply disappointed that you have not extended the same courtesy to the civil rights leaders whose communities are harmed by your policies and products,” reads the letter by the coalition called the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

The letter published online on Monday also mentioned that the groups would like to meet the Facebook CEO to discuss the concerns outlined in the letter.

“Meanwhile, research shows that it is likely Facebook continues to use algorithms that deliver advertisements in a discriminatory fashion even if advertisers do not engage in any discriminatory ad targeting. These algorithms, which are not transparent, pose significant concerns for equal access to housing, credit, and employment,” says the letter.

“Despite years of advocacy, Facebook has failed to stop white nationalists from using event pages to target, intimidate, or harass people based on their race, religion, or other parts of their identity,” the coalition said in the letter.

The coalition suggested several measures that Facebook must implement to remedy “these problems at a structural level”.

Facebook must “publicly name, hire, and staff an office of civil rights that will review and test all new products and policies,” the coalition said.

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