Press Release: Statement on Facebook’s Late Removal Of Those That Incite Violence on Their Platform

For Immediate Release
January 12, 2021
Contact: Solice Scott, 202.244.4450, [email protected]
 

Washington, DC— The Following Statement Issued From Shireen Mitchell on Facebook’s Late Response to Incitement of Violence on Their Platform. 

Facebook has issued a statement voicing the concerns they have with the January 6, 2021 rampage at the U.S. Capitol, an incitement of violence ordered directly from the oval office. Zuckerberg stated “over the last several years, we have allowed President Trump to use our platform consistent with our own rules, at times removing content or labeling his posts when they violate our policies.”

We know from experience that many of the President of the United States’ (POTUS) posts inciting violence on Facebook’s platform have not been removed, including those of his supporters. Posts and attacks on other officials — including Representatives Maxine WatersIhan Omar, and Frederica Wilson (who was protecting the wife of the fallen soldier Army Sgt. La David Johnson, who died in questionable circumstances in Niger)—have also been allowed to remain. In addition, we’ve reported on the level of “shoot them all posts and groups targeting Black Lives Matter activists protesting against state-sanctioned harms, that were not taken down by Facebook. They include POTUS’ statements following the murder of a woman in Charlottesville after an organized group acted upon online documented plans to harm others with cars.

The actions at the Capitol were also planned online and on their multiple platforms. Yet, last week was the first time that Facebook took any action by removing the President of the United States as well as the Walkaway, a hashtag campaign that started in 2016 by possible foreign actors. (Led by Brandon Straka, Walkaway targets communities of color voters.) Recently, (and as we reported last month), Walkaway interfered with the Georgia Senate runoff. More importantly, Facebook responded only after other government officials were threatened and placed in harm’s way. At least five people have died as a result of their inaction.

This is not a platform that protects all users. It only protects certain ones. We demand that Facebook ensures that they actually remove all posts and groups that incite violence and violate their own terms of service in a consistent, unbiased manner.

Stop Online Violence Against Women Inc is a nonprofit that addresses inadequate laws and policies that lack protections for women in particular women of color. We focus on online violence against women, laws and policy changes needed at the local, state, and federal levels. We also focus on technology and social media company’s accountability. SOVAW serves as a resource of services and options for women and women of color, based on their level of targeted harassment or violence. We report on the diverse issues and impacts for those who are willing to share their stories. This includes digital voter suppression. We are a nonpartisan organization.