New York, NY, January 8, 2021 … Stop Hate for Profit — the national coalition of civil rights organizations and advocacy groups behind the largest advertiser walk-out ever of Facebook last summer and September’s Week of Action on Instagram — is demanding that Facebook, Twitter, Alphabet and other social media platforms #BanTrumpSaveDemocracy by permanently removing Donald Trump from their platforms. Facebook announced on Thursday that it was blocking Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts “indefinitely and for at least two weeks,” and the Coalition calls on Facebook to publicly confirm that this is indeed a permanent ban.
Access to these services is a privilege, one that Donald Trump clearly has forfeited based on an indisputable pattern of behavior that preceded his calls to violence this week. If platforms do not remove Donald Trump by the presidential inauguration on January 20, when there must be a peaceful transition, the Coalition will call on companies to stop advertising on those platforms.
As the entire world witnessed on Wednesday, President Trump has profoundly eroded our trust in democracy by using social media to relentlessly spread his big lie about a “stolen election.” These platforms also continue to allow right-wing extremists including white supremacists, QAnon, Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and other coup plotters to spread Trump’s lies, hate, and violent rhetoric. For far too long, Big Tech has put profits over people and endangered our democracy by looking away as President Trump continuously and unapologetically violated each company’s respective Terms of Service with his constant output of disinformation, hatred and incitement. This Wednesday, the platforms unconscionably permitted the president to catalyze violence and promote sedition in our nation’s capital.
Our nation faces a clear and present danger as we prepare for the inauguration, and it is imperative that leaders of the world’s largest social media companies finally do the right thing and deplatform the inciter-in-chief before another person is killed or another cherished piece of our democracy is violated.
As a coalition of storied civil rights organizations and advocacy groups, we are also deeply alarmed by what happens after January 20th. It is clear that the seeds of hate have already been sown through countless tweets and posts and streams that have burst forth into a violent real-world reality. The racism, antisemitism, xenophobia, islamophobia, and other forms of hate on display this week at the United States Capitol are easy to find with the click of a button on platforms that serve billions of people around the globe. And most troubling, President Trump has given every indication that he will continue to incite violence and sow division even after he leaves office, making it imperative that social media platforms ban him permanently.
Platforms must once and for all choose which side of history they want to be on — with Donald Trump and the domestic terrorists that he incited this week, or with America’s families, leaders, and advocates to safeguard our democracy and protect its children. It is a simple choice.
Stop Hate for Profit includes: ADL, Color of Change, Common Sense Media, Free Press, LULAC, Mozilla, NAACP, National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) and Sleeping Giants. #BanTrumpSaveDemocracy is supported by Sacha Baron Cohen, recipient of the 2019 ADL International Leadership Award.
Following the Coalition’s advertiser pause of Facebook last summer supported by over 1,200 businesses, nonprofits and countless consumers; and the Week of Action on Instagram this past September which reached an estimated billion people, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media companies instituted some reforms. Facebook, which was the focus of those actions, created a new senior executive role focused on civil rights (though it has yet to fill this position); finally agreed to participate in an audit of hateful content on the service; and took long-overdue action to remove violent white supremacist groups, armed militias, and hateful content including Holocaust denial. The company also recently began quietly reengineering its algorithm to address systemic bias that has plagued the experience of users who are part of marginalized communities. And after the Week of Action, steps were taken by companies to ban, label, or restrict political ads through the election. These were important steps, only taken after immense pressure, but as evidenced by the continued widespread dissemination of hate and disinformation over Facebook, these steps are not enough. For instance, many of Facebook’s policies remain woefully under-enforced, powerful white supremacists remain on the platform, and Facebook has failed to prohibit calls to arms despite repeated calls from Muslim Advocates and the Change The Terms coalition. #BanTrumpSaveDemocracy