NAACP chief calls Facebook ‘one of the biggest threats to democracy’

The head of the NAACP called Facebook a major threat to democracy amid a growing advertising boycott over the social-media giant’s approach to hate speech.

“They are probably one of the biggest threats to democracy that we see,” Derrick Johnson, the civil-rights group’s president and CEO, said Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“They have fanned the flames of racial hatred and altered the course of our democracy, and they refuse to do anything about it,” Johnson said.

The NAACP is one of six advocacy groups spearheading the “#StopHateForProfit” campaign urging companies to halt Facebook advertising for the month of July. Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia and Eddie Bauer are among the brands that have joined the campaign pushing Facebook to stop generating ad revenue from bigoted content.

Johnson slammed Facebook for allowing white supremacists and other hate groups to buy ads and for placing those ads alongside brand names. Johnson and civil-rights activist Al Sharpton said they met with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at his home about their concerns, but they indicated the talks yielded no progress.

“This is not just something that we jumped out there to say,” Sharpton said on MSNBC. “We tried to reason with them and they will not do it.”

It’s unclear when Johnson and Sharpton’s meeting with Zuckerberg took place. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday morning, but the company has said it’s had discussions with marketers and civil-rights groups about how to be “a force for good.”

Facebook and Zuckerberg have faced backlash in recent weeks over the company’s decision to leave up President Trump’s inflammatory posts about protests against police brutality in Minneapolis. Facebook did remove Trump campaign ads last week featuring a red triangle, a symbol the Nazis used to mark political prisoners in concentration camps. The Trump campaign claimed the symbol is linked to Antifa, a far-left anti-fascist movement, which the president has called a terrorist organization.

Filed under