The NAACP is calling for a boycott of Facebook amid revelations that it failed to stop the spread of political misinformation among the African-American community, leading up to the 2016 presidential election.
Starting on Tuesday, the civil-rights organization is encouraging all users and businesses that support its cause to #LogOut of Instagram and Facebook’s flagship app for one week.
In addition, the NAACP says it has returned a recent donation from Facebook, while it is officially calling on Congress to conduct further investigations into the company.
The NAACP said its decision was prompted by a report released for the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee this week, which was prepared by the organization New Knowledge.
Among other findings, the report concluded that Russian operatives used Instagram, Facebook and other platforms to suppress turnout among potential black voters in 2016.
Along with voter suppression, the Kremlin-supported Internet Research Agency specifically discouraged black people from voting for Hillary Clinton.
Illustrating the sort of content that reached specific voting demographics in 2016, one Russian-backed Instagram account opined: “The excuse that a lost Black vote for Hillary is a Trump win is bs. It could be late, but y’all might want to support Jill Stein instead.”
Derrick Johnson, President-CEO of the NAACP, said the organization is also disturbed by Facebook’s repeated data breaches; its recent hiring of Definers Public Affairs -- the Republican consultancy that sought to undermine Facebook’s critics by linking them to billionaire George Soros; and the company’s inability to diversify its workforce.
“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,” Johnson stated.
For Facebook, this is not the first accusation of racial insensitivity, or of letting down the broader African American community.
Last month, a former employee accused the company of not doing enough to support African Americans on its platform or among its ranks.
“Facebook has a black people problem,” Mark Luckie, who served as a strategic partner manager for global influencers at Facebook before leaving the company, said in a blog post. “Racial discrimination at Facebook is real.”
In response to Luckie’s nearly 2,500-word memo, Facebook said it aspired to create the most compassionate culture possible for its employees. At last count, Facebook said 3.5% of its domestic workforce was black.