Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sheryl Sandberg told interns during a July Q&A that Facebook doesn’t get “any credit” for the Black Lives Matter movement and suggested that the activists behind these movements needed Facebook in order for their voices to be heard.
In leaked audio obtained by The Verge, Sandberg told interns during this July meeting:
“We don’t get credit for any of those movements. We don’t get credit for any of it. But the brave women who spoke out on Me Too, the brave people who spoke out on Black Lives Matter, the brave people who organized the Women’s March — they needed the tool. There’s a reason this is happening now and it didn’t happen before.”
Not only do Sandberg’s statements show one of Facebook’s top executives suggesting that the world’s biggest social network with more than 2.7 billion monthly active users plays a key role in amplifying the Black Lives Matter group but they also indicate a high-level bias in favor of promoting the movement, considering how Facebook has responded to other movements and protest groups.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously spoken favorably on Black Lives Matter and even intervened and admonished an employee during an internal Black Lives Matter debate.
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This pro-Black Lives Matter stance in Silicon Valley extends far beyond the top-level executives. 79% of tech employees also expect their companies to publicly support the Black Lives Matter group.
Additionally, many of Facebook’s employees publicly supported the Black Lives Matter movement during a “virtual walkout” in June where they decided not to carry out their duties to protest Trump’s statements not being deleted.
This level of support for and implied amplification of the Black Lives Matter movement is in stark contrast to the way Facebook treats other movements such as anti-lockdown protestors, anti-mask protestors, and anti-human trafficking protests. These movements have been aggressively purged from Facebook’s platforms with the company introducing sweeping new rules that can result in entire groups being censored based on the actions of a single follower.