Facebook appoints a new civil rights vice president as racism-related violence and hatred increases on its social media platforms Instagram and Facebook. This post is given to Roy L. Austin Jr. He is a civil rights attorney who was a part of the Obama administration. He was initially at the Justice Department then moved to the White House along with Obama.
As the Black Lives Matter movement broke out in the U.S. and the platforms were divided into people for and against it, a lot of hate and violence toward people of color was noticed. This lead to a month-long boycott by major advertisers ad civil rights groups.
Austin has been given the responsibility to organize a civil rights organization with Facebook and conduct an internal check. Facebook was warned in an internal audit of Facebook’s practices about its failure to manage, notice, and rein in racist slurs, spreading of misinformation, and toxic speech. These actions and Facebook’s mismanagement in handling that could have, and as a matter of fact, even did affect the presidential elections.
Austin in a statement said the technology plays a very important and essential role in people’s lives and it is important and ethically correct to use the platforms to educate people and liberate the oppressed and underrepresented good. Technology and the people on platforms can now use it to help end racism for good.
After the death of George Floyd by a white officer, national protests over police brutality and racial injustice broke out and it escalated the pressure built on Facebook. Starting January 19, 2021, Austin will take his position as vice president of Civil Rights and Deputy General Counsel. He will build a small team and immediately rectify problems and loopholes related to racism and hate speech and Facebook’s algorithm.
This decision was praised by people who led the Facebook audit. The audit called for the social media platform to appoint an individual experienced with matters associated with civil rights. Facebook appoints civil rights vice president, Austin at the right time and in light of this expectation.
To protest against the spread of racial hatred, top brands like Ford, Pfizer, and Unilever withdrew from posting advertisements on the platform. Black users likewise are unhappy with Facebook’s dealing with this matter. It was brought into notice by users that harassment worsened as the protests grew nationwide after Floyd’s death. One of the major problems people think is the underrepresentation of minorities at the position of influence in businesses like Facebook’s. Only 3% of Facebook’s senior executives and 3.7% of its U.S employees are black.
Rashad Robinson who is the president of Color of Change, an online racial justice organization, said that he expects that the top leaders at Facebook empower and support Austin in delivering the best results for the community’s needs.