Advocacy groups target Facebook employees in push to keep Trump off platform

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Advocacy groups are targeting Facebook’s employees with an ad campaign urging the platform to keep former President Trump banned permanently. 

More than 30 advocacy groups ran a full page ad in the San Jose Mercury News on Thursday slamming the platform’s announcement last week that it would keep Trump’s suspension in place until at least 2023, leaving open the possibility of his return ahead of the 2024 election.

The ad featured a letter signed by the groups, including Media Matters for America, Accountable Tech, the Anti-Defamation League, Avaaz and the Black Lives Matter Global Network, to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg calling it “unconscionable” to even consider giving Trump a chance to return. 

“You would be handing him the megaphone through which he incited an insurrection — all without implementing meaningful design or enforcement changes to prevent the worst from happening again,” the letter states. 

The newspaper ad is part of a six-figure ad campaign launched by Media Matters and Accountable Tech that also includes digital ads, as well as billboard and truck banners near Facebook’s corporate offices. 

Another ad features a quote attributed to a Facebook employee stating, “Two years for a coup, not bad.” BuzzFeed News reported the quote from an employee that was made in a comment to an internal post from Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, Nick Clegg. 

A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment directly in response to the ad campaign, but pointed to Clegg’s comments Sunday on ABC “This Week.” 

“Our job is not to take the decisions with an eye to, you know, which side of the political aisle is going to agree or disagree more with us, but just to do so in a way that is fair, transparent and proportionate, in line with our rules and crucially is responsive to the comments and criticisms that Facebook received when we first suspended Donald Trump from Facebook, from the independent oversight board,” Clegg said. 

Facebook’s Oversight Board is funded through a $130 million trust from the platform but has its own staff independent from the social media giant. Last month, the board upheld Trump’s suspension but said an indefinite suspension was not appropriate. 

Along with announcing Trump would remain suspended for two years from his initial Jan. 7 ban, the platform said last week it would provide more clarity about its newsworthiness policy, which allows posts that would otherwise violate the platform policy to remain on the site. 

Facebook said going forward it will no longer apply the newsworthiness standard differently to politicians.

Tags Accountable Tech Donald Trump Facebook Mark Zuckerberg Media Matters

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