Letter to Democratic Consultants
To: Edelman Public Affairs & Global Strategy Group
From: Freedom From Facebook & Google
Re: Your Work for Facebook as Zuckerberg Enables Trump’s Hate & Lies
Date: June 12, 2020
Your websites read “Time for Brands to Stand Up” & “In Solidarity With the Black Community,” as protestors marching against racism and hate have been tear gassed, shot with rubber bullets, and arrested.
Simultaneously, Mark Zuckerberg defended his decision to let Trump spread hate on Facebook, including his racist historical reference to looting and shooting.
The episode revealed what many of us have long warned about: Facebook coming into tacit alignment with Donald Trump ahead of the 2020 elections, while dismissing, yet again, the role it plays in spreading dangerous, violent content. But Facebook’s disregard for democracy and socially destructive business model are widely known facts of which you’re surely aware.
In the face of growing pressure from advocates, including our coalition, and scrutiny from lawmakers, Facebook recently formed a new front group, American Edge. Both of your firms - through Joe Lockhart and Jim Papa - have been named and quoted in press articles as working for American Edge.
We believe that your stated support for progressive values and the fight for racial justice is irreconcilable with your public relations work for Facebook, given its role in spreading hate, fostering social discord, and undermining democracy.
As even Facebook employees resign in protest, your firms must put values ahead of profits and cease any work on behalf of American Edge or Facebook.
As engineer Timothy Aveni explained in his resignation, this is a much bigger issue than deciding whether a single Trump post encouraging violence should be removed. Facebook has built a toxic business model that depends on amplifying hateful and divisive content to increase user engagement and keep the ad revenue coming.
Mark Zuckerberg does not care about protecting free speech. He cares about protecting his power. And he’s willing to sacrifice our democracy to do so. Your firms should not be an accomplice.
We look forward to your response, and hope that your firms will be willing to demonstrate that the words on your home pages were not, in fact, co-opting the language of racial justice for corporate branding purposes.
Sarah Miller & David Segal, Co-Chairs Freedom From Facebook and Google
P.S. We are also copying CNN, as we believe it would be appropriate for Joe Lockhart’s work for American Edge or Facebook to be disclosed when he is on the air or writing op-eds that discuss the protests and/or Trump, until that work ceases.