NAACP Leads Digital Protest #LogOutFacebook Over Data Hacks That Target African Americans

Written by Dana Sanchez

NAACP, a top U.S. civil rights organization, is asking social media followers, supporters and partners to #LogOutFacebook starting on Tuesday, Dec. 18 in a digital protest against the tech company for its history of data hacks that unfairly target African Americans.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has returned a donation it recently received from Facebook and plans to lead a weeklong #LogOut of Facebook and Instagram campaign to show that the data and privacy of African Americans matter more than its corporate interests. As the largest social network in the world, Facebook has a responsibility to ensure that people of color are well represented in their workforce, NAACP said in a press release. Facebook needs to recognize that users of color have a right to be protected from propaganda and misinformation.

NAACP wants Congress to investigate Facebook further after a report for the Senate Intelligence Committee showed that the Russian influence campaign “made an extraordinary effort to target African Americans.”

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The civil rights organization has openly criticized Facebook’s lack of employee diversity, NAACP said today.

Veteran tech journalist Walt Mossberg announced today to his 266,160 Facebook followers that he plans to quit the social network by the end of 2018 after posting there for almost 12 years.

“I am doing this … because my own values and the policies and actions of Facebook have diverged to the point where I’m no longer comfortable here,” Mossberg said in a Facebook post.

Mossberg also quit his Facebook-owned Instagram account, and said he might return if Facebook becomes “effectively regulated.” He plans to stay active on Twitter.

The NAACP also returned a monetary donation it recently received from Facebook, but did not disclose the dollar amount. (Source: NAACP)

Facebook has been losing the hearts and minds of some of its most dedicated users in the wake of scandal after scandal, wrote Raymond Wong for Mashable. Losing prominent users such as Mossberg leaves a lasting impact:

As a major pioneer of consumer electronics reporting and reviews, Mossberg’s decision will send a ripple (however small or large) throughout the technology sphere. He’s all-but-directly saying Facebook is a scourge. Every social network has its own problems, but deciding to cut one of them out (especially when you’ve used it as publishing platform) is a bold step towards reducing its power and reach.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee report adds new details to what we have learned over the last two years about the energy and imagination of the Russian effort to divide the country, the New York Times reported. These efforts continue to this day.

Of 81 Facebook pages created by the Russian Internet Research Agency, 30 targeted African-American audiences, amassing 1.2 million followers, the Senate’s data finds. By comparison, 25 pages targeted the political right and drew 1.4 million followers. Seven pages focused on the political left, drawing 689,045 followers.

The right-wing pages promoted Donald Trump’s candidacy, the left-wing pages scorned Hillary Clinton and promoted Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate. The voter suppression effort focused on Sanders supporters and African-Americans, urging them to shun Clinton in the general election and vote for Stein or stay home.

“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,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO, in a prepared statement.