Black Caucus Warns Silicon Valley: Stop Weaponization of Your Platforms or Congress Will Act
Following a report which revealed that Russia used a significant social media presence to target Black voters in attempts to suppress the vote in the 2016 election and turn them away from Hillary Clinton, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) put tech companies on notice. Outgoing CBC Chair Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA) and Diversity Task Force Co-Chairs, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC) said they wanted “to hear directly from Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook, and CEOs of other companies whose platforms were weaponized” about what they knew about Russia’s efforts and how they plan to address the issue in the future. And they’re ready to act -- they issued a warning to the social media giants, saying, “If they can't stop the weaponization of their platforms, then Congress will.” The CBC joined the chorus of civil rights activists demanding change. The NAACP said it returned a donation from Facebook and called for a week-long boycott of the social network and Instagram. And a coalition of more than two dozen civil rights groups sent Facebook a letter criticizing the company’s role in “generating bigotry and hatred towards vulnerable communities and civil rights organizations.” WaPo reported that the groups called on Zuckerberg to step down as Chair of the Board and COO Sheryl Sandberg to resign from her seat. They also called on Facebook to hire at least three members to diversify the Board and create an independent civil rights ombudsman. More here.