Facebook agrees to release progress report on civil rights audit, advocacy group says

Facebook has committed to releasing an internal progress report on a civil rights audit before the end of the year, according to a group that says it met with Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg on Thursday.
 
 
Color of Change, a civil rights group that has been critical of Facebook, said Sandberg made the promise in a meeting with them on Thursday.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
“Facebook, like much of Silicon Valley, desperately needs a cultural transformation,” said Rashad Robinson, the president of Color of Change, in a statement. “Leaders must see that addressing the needs of Black users and employees, collaborating with civil rights groups to correct existing issues, and rooting out the internal forces hostile to civil rights are essential for the company’s future success.”
 
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
 
The company announced the civil rights audit in May, saying it would be run by a former American Civil Liberties Union official and that it would be conducted alongside a review of potential anti-conservative bias that would be overseen by Jon Kyl, a GOP lobbyist who has since been appointed to fill the Arizona Senate seat left vacant after the death of Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainSenate Armed Services chair not convinced of need for Trump's Space Force Jenny McCarthy: ‘The View’ producers asked me to ‘act Republican’ Flake warns in farewell speech: US political climate 'is not healthy' MORE (R).
 
Facebook has been in turmoil following a New York Times story earlier this month that detailed the steps Facebook took to defend itself when it was under increasing pressure in Washington around the time of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. According to the Times, Facebook hired opposition research firm Definers Public Affairs, which suggested reporters look into connections between Democratic mega-donor George Soros and Facebook critics like Color of Change.
 
The Times reported in a separate article, on Thursday, that Sandberg had directed staffers to investigate Soros’s finances after he criticized Facebook. Robinson said in his statement that his group has more demands for Facebook and that the company has more work to do to repair its reputation.
 
“In yesterday’s meeting, Sheryl Sandberg made an apology to Color Of Change for the anti-Semitic and anti-Black smears orchestrated by Definers Public Affairs and also committed to a public update on the civil rights audit by the end of the year,” he said. “Facebook can show its commitment to transparency by turning over all of the files prepared by the PR firm to discredit Color Of Change and Facebook’s critics.”