WASHINGTON, D.C. | June 03, 2020 — A confidential whistleblower assisted by the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) today filed a supplement to its 2019 petition to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) calling for sanctions against Facebook for its deception of shareholders and the public.
The 2019 whistleblower petition highlighted how, contrary to its public statements, Facebook was not engaged in meaningful efforts to remove content from hate and terrorist groups, but in fact was assisting such groups through its algorithms and its auto-generation of web pages for such groups, effectively assisting them with networking and recruiting.
Today’s filing features new research by the Tech Transparency Project (TTP), an initiative of the nonprofit Campaign for Accountability (CfA). The research shows that despite Facebook’s assurances since the filing of the 2019 whistleblower petition, and more than two years after Facebook hosted an event page for the “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, its assistance to white supremacist groups continues unabated. Many of the white supremacist pages identified in TTP research were created by Facebook itself.
John Kostyack, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center and counsel for the confidential whistleblower, said:
“The National Whistleblower Center stands in solidarity with the millions protesting the police killing of George Floyd and other innocent people of color and working to undo the structures of racism that allow such killings to proliferate. Today we lend our support to a confidential whistleblower providing the SEC with even more incontrovertible evidence that Facebook is using its massive power to assist white supremacist groups. We call upon Facebook to do the right thing and remove all white supremacist hate group content from its website, and we join the whistleblower in calling upon the SEC to punish Facebook for its deceptions.”
CfA Executive Director Daniel E. Stevens said:
“Facebook claims that it bans white supremacists and other hate groups from its platform, but Facebook’s own algorithms are actively helping white supremacists organize and spread their hate online. While Facebook may claim that it is trying to rid its platform of hateful groups, Zuckerberg is content to let bigots spread their ideology as long as it keeps making money for his company.”
In addition to featuring the TTP research, the whistleblower’s supplemental petition highlights a Wall Street Journal investigation of Facebook, which reveals that Facebook learned from its own research in 2016 that its algorithms are helping terror and hate groups recruit and expand their ranks. Facebook never disclosed these research findings to its shareholders or the public.
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