Dems, celebs push movement to #LogOutFacebook

Democrats, celebrities and advocates are promoting the #LogOutFacebook movement led by the NAACP to protest reports that Facebook did little to stop Russian disinformation to suppress minority votes during the 2016 election. 

"In Solidarity to the [NAACP], I won’t be on Instagram tomorrow and won’t be on Facebook for a week," actress and activist Amy Schumer tweeted. "Please join me."


The NAACP is encouraging Facebook users to log out of the platform for a week in protest after a Senate report found that Russians exploited Instagram and Facebook to suppress African-American turnout.

"I stand with @NAACP's #LogOutFacebook, expressing our concerns about the privacy mishaps & hate speech incidents Facebook has allowed," Rep. Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Increased security on Capitol Hill amid QAnon's March 4 date House passes voting rights and elections reform bill Lawmakers line up behind potential cyber breach notification legislation MORE (D-Miss.) tweeted on Tuesday. "Our hope is this boycott will charge Facebook to do a better job of protecting & supporting communities of color online. Join us!"  

The NAACP said Monday it would lead a week-long protest starting Tuesday encouraging individuals to log out as "a way to signify to Facebook that the data and privacy of its users of color matter more than its corporate interests." 

A Facebook spokesperson in an emailed statement to The Hill said the company is "listening and we agree that we have areas that we can improve."  

"We have acknowledged and apologized for the security incidents and privacy missteps we've had in the past, and we continue to invest in solutions to keep our platform safe and improve," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson pointed to the latest update in Facebook's ongoing civil rights audit. 

The company's COO Sheryl Sandberg on Tuesday morning also responded to the NAACP's boycott, writing in a blog post that Facebook is “committed to working with leading US civil rights organizations to strengthen and advance civil rights on our service." 

"They’ve raised a number of important concerns, and I’m grateful for their candor and guidance,” Sandberg wrote. "We know that we need to do more: to listen, look deeper and take action to respect fundamental rights." 

Sandberg wrote that Facebook is taking the findings in the reports compiled for the Senate Intelligence Committee "incredibly seriously." 

One of the reports compiled for the Senate Intelligence Committee found that Instagram played an outsized role as Russians sought to target and recruit black Americans with disinformation and conspiracy theories. The report found that the Internet Research Agency, the Russian propaganda operation, likely targeted African-Americans in an effort to boost President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot Intelligence community investigating links between lawmakers, Capitol rioters Michelle Obama slams 'partisan actions' to 'curtail access to ballot box' MORE and the Republican party. Black Americans tend to vote for Democrats by wide margins.   

"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 President and CEO Derrick Johnson said in a statement. 

Facebook has also found itself in hot water with civil rights advocates after a New York Times investigation found that a public relations firm hired by the social media giant that targeted racial justice organization Color of Change, among other groups. 

The firm, Definers, sought to discredit Color of Change as the civil rights organization publicly called for Facebook to investigate how Russian trolls exploited race to sow discord among U.S. voters.     

Color of Change met with Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg in recent weeks to discuss civil rights on the platform. Sandberg on Tuesday released an update on Facebook's civil rights audit. Color of Change in a statement said it is "pleased" Facebook released the update but called for the platform to "do better" in the ongoing audit. 

A separate coalition of civil rights groups headed by Muslim Advocates on Tuesday called for Facebook to remove CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: YouTube to restore Trump's account | House-passed election bill takes aim at foreign interference | Senators introduce legislation to create international tech partnerships Far-right misinformation received highest engagement on Facebook: study Facebook helped fund New York Times columnist David Brooks's think tank project: report MORE and Sandberg from the company’s board. The coalition includes the Center for Media Justice, MoveOn and the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

“Facebook’s platforms have become a primary organizing tool for white nationalists and hate groups throughout America and even contributing to genocide around the world and, all the while, the company’s leadership has either looked the other way or actively stoked it,” Muslim Advocates executive director Farhana Kherain a statement. “For the good of vulnerable communities worldwide, Facebook’s board must become more independent, more diverse, and more capable of understanding the real challenges it faces.” 

Updated: 4:35 p.m.