Starting today, the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People is calling for users to log out of Facebook and other Facebook-owned social media and chat apps like Instagram and WhatsApp.
The weeklong boycott is in response to two reports released on Monday detailing how Russian hackers specifically targeted African Americans in the 2016 election.
The civil rights group also noted on Twitter that it has returned a recent donation from Facebook. But while the reports may have triggered the #LogOutFacebook boycott, the NAACP is also pointing to Facebook’s many other blunders around data privacy and advertising. It also doesn’t help that former Facebook manager Mark S. Luckie recently sent out a 2,500-word memo detailing how the company excluded and discriminated against black employees and users.
In a call to action, the NAACP stated, “Facebook’s engagement with partisan firms, its targeting of political opponents, the spread of misinformation and the utilization of Facebook for propaganda promoting disingenuous portrayals of the African American community is reprehensible.”
NAACP has returned a monetary donation we recently received from Facebook, and we are calling on supporters to log out of Facebook and Instagram on Tuesday, December 18. We implore you, our partners, friends, and supporters to join us. #LogOutFacebook pic.twitter.com/tOBKhnbRTW
— NAACP (@NAACP) December 17, 2018
Researchers found that Russian accounts heavily targeted African Americans during the 2016 election in a bid to suppress votes for Hillary Clinton. According to New Knowledge, a cybersecurity firm that authored one of the reports, Russia’s Internet Research Agency basically created an extensive media ecosystem targeting African Americans that weaved together propaganda with authentic black media and small businesses.
Some tactics included posts on Instagram that Hillary Clinton had received $27,817 in donations from the Ku Klux Klan, and leaned heavily on Black Lives Matter imagery and police brutality memes to spread misinformation.
Coinciding with the start of the NAACP boycott, Facebook also issued an update today to its civil rights audit. The audit was commissioned in May and has been led by civil rights leader Laura Murphy.
“Two independent reports commissioned by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released Monday on the Russian Internet Research Agency’s use of technology around the 2016 election suggest that the IRA’s efforts had a disproportionate impact on communities of colour,” writes Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in a blog about the update. “We take this incredibly seriously, as demonstrated by the investments we’ve made in safety and security.”