AG Herring calls on Facebook to take further steps to prevent use of its platforms to spread hate, disinformation

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) – Attorney General Mark Herring joined 19 attorneys general from across the country in calling on Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg to take additional steps to prevent the social media site from being used to spread hate and disinformation.

In a letter sent Wednesday to Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, Herring and his colleagues assert that despite its stated commitment in working to keep users safe, Facebook has come up short in keeping hate content off its platforms and protecting users from online harassment.

“Unfortunately, over the past few years, we have seen how Facebook can be used as a tool to spread misinformation and hate that can have serious, real-life consequences. Especially now, when our country finds itself in a moment of tremendous social change and with an incredibly important presidential election in just a few months, Facebook must take stronger steps to further protect its users from hate and prevent its platform from being used to spread disinformation.”

Mark Herring, Virginia’s Attorney General

The coalition’s letter, which can be found below, mentions the nation is presently in a moment of reckoning on issues of racial justice and civil rights.

According to a news release, the letter follows the release of a Civil Rights Audit of Facebook’s practices, commissioned by the company and compiled in July, faulting Facebook for failing to advance civil rights, and refusing to enforce its own policies against dangerous organizations and individuals, including white supremacists and other extremists.

In Wednesday’s letter, the reforms recommended calls for Facebook to:

  • Aggressively enforce its policies against hate speech and organized hate organizations;
  • Allow public, third-party audits of hate content and enforcement;
  • Commit to an ongoing, independent analysis of Facebook’s content population scheme and the prompt development of best practices guidance; and
  • Expand policies limiting inflammatory advertisements that vilify minority groups.

The Attorneys General also recommends steps be taken to enhance Facebook supportive services including:

  • Offer live, real-time assistance to victims of intimidation and harassment;
  • Make information about unlawful harassment and intimidation more readily available; and
  • Strengthen filtering, reporting and blocking tools.

Attorneys Generals joining Herring in sending today’s letter include AG’s from California, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin.

View the letter below:

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