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Content Policy, Product Policy, and External Relations Teams

c/o Monika Bickert, Monique Dorsainvil, and Shaarik Zafar


Facebook
1299 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C., 20004

September 6, 2018

Dear Content Policy, Product Policy, and External Relations Teams:


Thank you and your teams for meeting with us on July 5, 2018. We write to you to follow
up on this meeting regarding particular Facebook training materials used to respond to hateful
activities on the platform. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law 1 is deeply
concerned that your approach to white supremacist, white nationalist, and white separatist content
on Facebook is misguided, inconsistent, and dangerous. We raised this issue with you, and while
we appreciate that you agreed to discuss internally, it appears that Facebook does not intend to
address the problem any time soon. In light of the rise in hate crimes around the country, the
racialized violence in Charlottesville last year, the prevalent use of Facebook to promote and
organize hate, and use of the platform to manipulate voters with racist propaganda, it is imperative
that you address this issue as soon as possible.
On May 29, 2018, journalists with Motherboard published excerpts of Facebook’s training
materials for the moderation of hate speech. 2 These documents explicitly state that while Facebook
does not allow “white supremacy” or “racism” on the platform, it will allow “white nationalism”
and “white separatism,” including “the call for the creation of white ethno-states (Eg. ‘The US
should be a white-only nation’).”3 “We [Facebook] don’t allow praise, support and representation
of white supremacy as an ideology” but “[w]e allow praise, support and representation of white
nationalism [and white separatism] as an ideology.”4 These documents—which are used to instruct
and guide Facebook’s content moderators—draw an arbitrary line between white supremacy,
white nationalism and white separatism, despite glaring internal inconsistencies. Facebook defines
white supremacy as a “racist ideology based upon the belief that white people are superior in many

1
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization formed in 1963 at
the request of President John F. Kennedy to enlist the private bar’s leadership and resources in combatting racial
discrimination and the resulting inequality of opportunity. The Lawyers’ Committee’s mission is to secure equal
justice for all through the rule of law, targeting in particular the inequities confronting African Americans and other
racial and ethnic minorities. The Lawyers’ Committee’s Stop Hate Project seeks to strengthen the capacity of
community leaders, law enforcement, and organizations around the country to combat hate.
2
Joseph Cox, These Are Facebook’s Policies for Moderating White Supremacy and Hate, Motherboard (May 29,
2018), https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/mbk7ky/leaked-facebook-neo-nazi-policies-white-supremacy-
nationalism-separatism.
3
Id.
4
Id.

1
ways to people of other races and that therefore white people should be dominant over other
races.”5 The company describes white nationalists as “believ[ing] that white people should
maintain their majority in majority-white countries, as well as political and economic dominance”
and “oppos[ing] mass-immigration and multiculturalism, as they see them as threats to white
identity,” yet conclude that white nationalism “doesn’t seem to be *always *associated* with
racism (at least not explicitly).”6 Facebook instructs its content monitors that white separatism
“seeks to create ‘white only states’” but then notes that white separatism is somehow different
“from racial segregation, as it advocates separate states for different races rather than
discriminatory laws for different races in a multiracial society[.]” 7
Facebook’s rules fail to follow the central tenet of Brown v. Board of Education and the
decades of civil rights progress built upon it: that “the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place”
in a just society because it is “inherently unequal.” 8
Over the summer, we communicated to you our concerns about your company’s failure to
recognize that white nationalism and white separatism are intrinsically racist and segregationist
subsets of white supremacist ideology. This followed months of dialogue in which members of the
civil rights community, ourselves included, have attempted to get Facebook to take appropriate
actions to redress hateful activities on the platform. When we met with Facebook staff, we were
told that “nationalism” and “separatism” in general are allowed on Facebook. We recognized that
there are different forms of nationalism and separatism in different parts of the world, but pointed
out that Facebook’s training materials do not discuss nationalism and separatism as neutral, general
concepts. Instead, the training materials focus explicitly on white nationalism and white
separatism—specific movements focused on the continued supremacy (politically, socially, and/or
economically) of white people over other racial and ethnic groups. 9 Facebook’s policy staff asked
us for recommendations on how to improve their approach and find better expert authorities upon
which they can rely, prompting this letter.

5
Id.
6
Id.
7
Id.
8
Brown v. Bd. of Educ. of Topeka, Shawnee Cty., Kan., 347 U.S. 483, 495 (1954).
9
As a political ideology, nationalism encourages patriotism, group identity and political independence. White
nationalism, in the context of the United States, should be treated differently than other forms of nationalism, as it is
rooted in a history of supremacy, and calls for the separation, subjugation, and in certain cases, the annihilation of
minority races and religions. As discussed below, white nationalism and white separatism are merely rhetorical
launderings of white supremacy designed to increase its palatability. While we recognize the challenges Facebook
confronts as an international company implementing policies across the world, Facebook prides itself on hiring
people to implement its Community Standards who understand the climate and local context in which words and
images are used. See Hard Questions: Who Reviews Objectionable Content on Facebook — And Is the Company
Doing Enough to Support Them, Facebook, https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2018/07/hard-questions-content-
reviewers/ (last visited Aug. 29, 2018) (“In addition to language proficiency, we also look for people who know and
understand the culture. For example we want to hire Spanish speakers from Mexico — not Spain — to review
reports from Mexico as it often takes a local to understand the specific meaning of a word or the political climate in
which a post is shared.”)).

2
As discussed below, your training materials raise several concerns: (1) you draw an
arbitrary and inaccurate line between white supremacy, white nationalism, and white separatism;
(2) you allow content that violates your Community Standards to remain on your site; 10 and (3)
you predominantly rely on unreliable sources like Wikipedia rather than expert scholarship.
1. Facebook’s Materials Fail to Recognize that White Nationalism and White
Separatism are Synonymous with White Supremacy
By attempting to distinguish white supremacy from white nationalism and white
separatism, Facebook ignores centuries of history, legal precedent, and expert scholarship that all
establish that white nationalism and white separatism are white supremacy. Indeed, when we
met with your company this summer, both our staff as well as the staff at Facebook, were unable
to identify an example of white nationalism or white separatism that was not white supremacist.
The debate over whether white supremacy is synonymous with white nationalism and
white separatism speaks to the power of coded language and dog whistles that have shaped the
discussion and exploitation of race in America over the past fifty years. 11 White supremacy is
defined by a notion that white people are supreme, casting all others (specifically African
Americans and Jews in the American context) as inferior in an ethnic hierarchy. 12 White
nationalism is an umbrella term used to discuss white supremacy, hate groups, anti-government
groups, and other far right extremists and is a distortion of nationalism in the traditional sense. 13
White separatism is a political movement that reflects both white supremacist and white
nationalism ideologies. As the terms are often used interchangeably, many social science
scholars highlight the overlapping ideologies of white supremacy and white nationalism. 14
Resting on four core values (racial hierarchy, anti-Semitism, male dominance, and anti-LGBTQ+
sentiments), white supremacy and white nationalism differ in nothing more than their rhetorical
value.15
Experts note that white supremacists are intentionally shifting their rhetoric to be more
palatable to broader audiences first encountering it, such as by focusing more on “white civil
rights,” and “white nationalism,” than explicit bigotry. “Online, the languages of bigotry, such as

10
Community Standards, Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards/ (last visited Aug. 23, 2018).
11
See Ian Haney López, Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked
the Middle Class (2015); Nancy Isenberg, White Trash: The 400-year Untold History of Class in America (2017).
12
See Donald R. Kinder & Lynn M. Sanders, Divided by color: Racial politics and democratic ideals (1996).
13
See Raphael S. Ezekiel, The Racist Mind: Portraits of American Neo-Nazis and Klansmen(1996); Matthew W.
Hughey, The Janus‐face of Whiteness: Toward a Cultural Sociology of White Nationalism and White Antiracism, 3
Sociology Compass 920 (Dec. 2009); C.A. Gallagher, Color-blind Privilege: The Social and Political Functions of
Erasing the Color Line in Post Race America, 10 Race, Gender & Class 22 (2003).
14
See Gregory S. Jay, White Out: Race and Nationalism in American Studies, 55 Am. Quarterly 781 (Dec. 2003).
15
See Michael Kimmel & Abby L. Ferber, White men are this nation: right-wing militias and the restoration of
rural American masculinity, 65 Rural Sociology 582 (Oct. 22, 2009); Abby L. Ferber, Home-Grown Hate: Gender
and Organized Racism (1st ed. 2003); France Winddance Twine & Charles Gallagher, The future of whiteness: A
map of the ‘third wave’, 31 Ethnic and racial studies 4 (Sep. 26, 2008).

3
those that are expressed by white supremacist, anti-Semitic, or anti-immigrant groups, have
begun to converge in a mutually beneficial relationship with other elements that share similar
themes of race, ethnicity, and nationality, such that the lines that once separated racism from
political extremism are harder to distinguish.”16
White nationalism is “a term that originated among white supremacists as a euphemism for
white supremacy,” according to the Anti-Defamation League. 17 White nationalist groups’ “racist
aspirations are most commonly articulated as the desire to form a white ethnostate” and “appeals
for the white ethnostate are often disingenuously couched in proclamations of love for members
of their own race, rather than hatred for others.” 18 Examples of white supremacist groups that
characterize themselves as white nationalist include American Renaissance, 19 Identity Evropa,20
and Stormfront.21 Prominent white “nationalists” who advocate a white supremacist agenda
include Unite the Right rally organizer Jason Kessler,22 host of the anti-Semitic podcast Daily
Shoah Mike Peinovich,23 and Matthew Heimbach, former leader of the neo-Nazi Traditionalist
Worker Party.24
Both white nationalism and white supremacy are race conscious movements rooted in
xenophobic and exclusionary ideals. 25 White supremacists use the terms “white nationalism” to
inflict fear and intimidation on marginalized communities and garner additional white supremacist
followers. According to Antoine Banks and Carol Anderson, anger, resentment, and fear of non-
whites associated with white nationalism are reactions to black advancement, fear of a hypothetical
“white genocide,” and the threat of social change.26 The Ku Klux Klan and National Socialists

16
Adam Klein, Slipping Racism into the Mainstream: A Theory of Information Laundering, 22 Commc’n Theory
427, 428 (Nov. 2012).
17
White Nationalism, ADL, https://www.adl.org/resources/glossary-terms/white-nationalism (last visited Aug. 19,
2018).
18
Id.
19
American Renaissance, SPLC, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/american-
renaissance (last visited Aug. 19, 2018).
20
Identity Evropa, SPLC, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/identity-evropa (last visited
Aug. 19, 2018).
21
Stormfront, SPLC, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/stormfront (last visited Aug. 19,
2018).
22
Jason Kessler, SPLC, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/jason-kessler (last visited
Aug. 19, 2018). Facebook considers Unite the Right a hate entity and, in the lead up to the anniversary rally, blocked
any content encouraging attendance or otherwise promoting it.
23
Michael ‘Enoch’ Peinovich, SPLC, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/michael-
enoch-peinovich (last visited Aug. 19, 2018).
24
Matthew Heimbach, SPLC, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/matthew-heimbach
(last visited Aug. 19, 2018).
25
See Daniele Conversi, Can nationalism studies and ethnic/racial studies be brought together?, 30 J. of Ethnic and
Migration Studies 815 (May 17, 2006).
26
Carol Anderson, White rage: The unspoken truth of our racial divide (2016); Antoine J. Banks, Anger and racial
politics: The emotional foundation of racial attitudes in America (2014); see also Pete Simi & Robert Futrell,
American Swastika: Inside the white power movement's hidden spaces of hate (2010); Antoine J. Banks & Nicholas
A. Valentino, Emotional substrates of white racial attitudes, 56 Am. J. of Pol. Sci. 286 (April 2012).

4
share these reactions as well as the fundamental belief that non-whites are inferior to whites. 27
According to Banks and Anderson, progressive policies that followed the Civil Rights movement
persuaded bigoted white extremists to distance themselves from white supremacist terminology,
and instead embrace language emphasizing racial egalitarianism and white nationalism. 28 White
nationalism exists as a reactionary force to social strains in the economy, society, politics, and
religious environments, but is fundamentally the same as white supremacy. 29 White separatism is
“a form of white supremacy that emphasizes the idea that white people should exist separately
from all inferior, non-white races, whether by establishing an all-white community somewhere or
removing non-whites from their midst. Some white supremacists use this phrase because they
believe it may be more benignly perceived by others than the term ‘white supremacist.’” 30 Richard
Spencer, who the Southern Poverty Law Center calls as “a suit-and-tie version of the white
supremacists of old,” is interchangeably described as a white nationalist, white separatist, and
white supremacist.31 According to Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, “During the Jim Crow era, white
supremacists projected themselves as white separatists in order to make a case that they were good
people.”32
2. Your Stance on White Nationalism and White Separatism Allows Content that
violates Community Standards to remain on Facebook.
Because Facebook does not believe that white nationalism and white separatism are forms
of white supremacy, we took a look at white supremacist/nationalist/separatist content currently
on Facebook. Despite your promise that hate is not allowed on your platform, these examples are
all from Pages that are active as of the date of this letter.
 The Facebook Page “It’s okay to be white” is explicitly white supremacist and anti-Semitic;
its title is a dog whistle meme.33 It has over 13,000 followers. Its profile picture is Pepe the

27
See Betty A. Dobratz & Stephanie L. Shanks-Meile, The white separatist movement in the United States (2000).
28
See Banks (2014); Anderson (2016); see also Howard Schuman, et al, Racial attitudes in America: Trends and
interpretations (1998).
29
See Randy Blazak, White boys to terrorist men: Target recruitment of Nazi skinheads, 44 Am. Behavioral
Scientist, 982 (Feb. 1, 2001); Mark S. Hamm, American Skinheads: The Criminology and Control of Hate Crime
(1993).
30
White Separatism, ADL, https://www.adl.org/resources/glossary-terms/white-separatism (last visited Aug. 19,
2018).
31
Richard Bertrand Spencer, SPLC, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/richard-
bertrand-spencer-0.
32
Jason Koebler and Joseph Cox, The Impossible Job: Inside Facebook’s Struggle to Moderate Two Billion People,
Motherboard (Aug. 23, 2018), https://motherboard.vice.com/amp/en_us/article/xwk9zd/how-facebook-content-
moderation-works.
33
It’s okay to be white, Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/itsokaytobewhitegoy/ (last visited Sept. 6, 2018). The
phrase “It’s okay to be white” is a racist meme used by both white nationalists and white supremacists. Like many
similar hateful memes, it began on 4chan as a provocative joke that then morphed into a hateful slogan. See, e.g., It’s
Okay to Be White, Know Your Meme, https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/its-okay-to-be-white (last visited Sept. 6,
2018); Allyn West, Houston’s Rothko Chapel vandalized with paint, handbills: ‘It’s okay to be white’, Houston
Chronicle (May 21, 2018), https://www.houstonchronicle.com/houston/article/Houston-s-Rothko-Chapel-
vandalized-with-paint-12931429.php; Janell Ross, ‘It’s okay to be white’ signs and stickers appear on campuses and

5
Frog, a hate symbol,34 and it regularly posts offensive and racist content. It also promotes
white nationalism. For example, on July 14, it posted an image that stated, “It’s not okay
to hate white nationalism.”35 On June 6, it shared a post by prominent white nationalist
James Allsup.36
 The Facebook Page “American White History Month 2” posts content and memes that are
white supremacist, white nationalist, and white separatist; it has over 254,000 followers. 37
For example, on August 17 it posted, “Stop the hate, lets separate!” while sharing a video
espousing racist tropes about black-on-white violence. 38 On August 15, it posted a photo
connoting black people as criminals and mocked civil rights protests of police brutality
against people of color.39 On June 4, it shared a photo of white settlers captioned “We Built
This Country/This is Our Land.”40
 The Facebook Page “Nationalist Agenda” is a white nationalist page focused on
“Preserving [European] Racial and Cultural Heritage” with over 8,000 followers, 41 yet it
also traffics in bigotry and anti-Semitism. On August 18, it promoted an article from a hate

streets across the country, Wash. Post (Nov. 3, 2017), https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-


nation/wp/2017/11/03/its-okay-to-be-white-signs-and-stickers-appear-on-campuses-and-streets-across-the-
country/?utm_term=.42fdcfa1f96e.
34
See Pepe the Frog, ADL, https://www.adl.org/education/references/hate-symbols/pepe-the-frog (last visited Aug.
19, 2018).
35
It’s okay to be white, Facebook (July 14, 2018),
https://www.facebook.com/itsokaytobewhitegoy/photos/a.2023781647905853/2189120318038651/?type=3&theater
36
It’s okay to be white, Facebook (June 6, 2018),
https://www.facebook.com/itsokaytobewhitegoy/photos/a.2023781647905853/2152250675058949/?type=3&theater
; James Orien Allsup, Southern Poverty Law Center, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-
files/individual/james-orien-allsup (last visited Aug. 19, 2018).
37
American White History Month 2, Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/USWhiteHistory/ (last visited Sept. 6,
2018).
38
See American White History Month 2, Facebook (Aug. 17, 2018),
https://www.facebook.com/USWhiteHistory/posts/2256895387658043?__xts__[0]=68.ARA-
Wg8ojCgyj1iZq_AjR1sM-mQAD-
DPVkhYAuSaFgaCr_jiqvHQwpGugyML1dFQSQ66b7lcueon_nPXUNk2sCn0EbzLiUYT8U3HwedaxkYPmDNy2
E1ThVC9LgMBaCZ7go7EsqhhCx24&__tn__=-R. The shared video was created by Colin Flaherty, an author of
books on the “hoax of black victimization” who sells “Dindu Nuffin” T-shirts and coffee mugs on his website. See
https://www.colinflaherty.com/. “Dindu” or “dindu nuffin” are racist epithets for African Americans, frequently
used in white supremacist and alt-right memes. They are derived from the phrase “I didn’t do nothing,” which is a
racist trope that stereotypes African Americans responding to being arrested. See Andrew Anglin, A Normie’s
Guide to the Alt-Right, The Daily Stormer (Aug. 31, 2016), https://dailystormer.name/a-normies-guide-to-the-alt-
right/.
39
See American White History Month 2, Facebook (Aug. 15, 2018),
https://www.facebook.com/USWhiteHistory/photos/pb.694166823930915.-
2207520000.1534704893./2251091464905102/?type=3&theater (“BREAKING NEWS: The Chicago Police Dept
has replaced all sirens with the National Anthem, to force suspects to stop running and take a knee.”). The
comments on this post also engage in further racist denigration.
40
American White History Month 2, Facebook (June 4, 2018),
https://www.facebook.com/USWhiteHistory/photos/a.694182207262710/2132680476746202/?type=3&theater.
41
Nationalist Agenda, Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/pg/Nationalist-Agenda-
265874133561795/about/?ref=page_internal (last visited Sept. 6, 2018).

6
blog called “Diversity Macht Frei”42 titled “Jews push for the creation of Gay & Tranny
political parties across the globe.”43 On August 8, it shared an article titled, “There is No
Such thing As ‘Too White’” and wrote, “Ye have heard, ‘It’s Okay to be White.’ And
indeed, it is. It is more than just okay, in fact. It is good. . . . [T]here is no such thing as a
community being ‘too white.’”44 On August 2, it shared a video of prominent white
nationalist Jared Taylor, leader of American Renaissance, interviewing Patrick Casey,
leader of Identity Evropa.45 It said, “This is essential viewing for anyone who wants to
know that [sic] the future of our movement will look like.” Both American Renaissance
and Identity Evropa promote the racist pseudoscience lie that African Americans are
genetically inferior.46
 The Facebook Page “The American Nationalist” has almost 29,000 followers and engages
in racist stereotypes and nativism.47 On May 8, it promoted the white supremacist “it’s
okay to be white” meme with an image mocking a white person who apologizes for slavery
as “hat[ing] his skin.”48 It denigrated an article debunking pseudoscientific racism with an
insinuation that black people are genetically inferior: “LOL ‘race isn’t real, bigots’ … says
the man with sickle cell anemia.”49 It also promoted fake statistics that Dreamers drop out
of high school at greater rates than usual, writing “HEY RACISTS THESE MEXICANS
ARE A BOON TO OUR ECONOMY…. Wait...” 50
This is just a small sampling of hateful content on Facebook that violates your Community
Standards that we found despite lacking the significant resources, platform access, and
enforcement personnel that you have at your disposal. Many user comments on these and other

42
This is a reference to the Nazi slogan posted at Auschwitz and other concentration camps, “Arbeit Macht Frei,”
which means “Work sets you free.”
43
Nationalist Agenda, Facebook (Aug. 18, 2018),
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1201678636648002&id=265874133561795&__tn__=-R.
44
Nationalist Agenda, Facebook (Aug. 8, 2018),
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1190578031091396&id=265874133561795&__tn__=-R.
45
Nationalist Agenda, Facebook (Aug. 2, 2018),
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1183325261816673&id=265874133561795&__tn__=-R;
Jared Taylor, Southern Poverty Law Center, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-
files/individual/jared-taylor (last visited Aug. 19, 2018).
46
See, e.g., Thomas Jackson, Science Strikes Back, American Renaissance (July 8, 2018),
https://www.amren.com/news/2018/07/race-reality-of-human-differences-sarich-miele/; Human Biological
Diversity, Identity Evropa, https://www.identityevropa.com/human-biological-diversity (last visited Aug. 19, 2018).
47
The American Nationalist, Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/AmericanNationalist/ (last visited Sept. 6,
2018).
48
The American Nationalist, Facebook (May 8, 2018),
https://www.facebook.com/AmericanNationalist/posts/444944139251790.
49
The American Nationalist, Facebook (May 9, 2018),
https://www.facebook.com/AmericanNationalist/posts/445283532551184.
50
Compare The American Nationalist, Facebook (Jan. 19, 2018),
https://www.facebook.com/AmericanNationalist/posts/401148650298006, with Jillian Berman, Why ‘Dreamers’ are
less likely to drop out of high school, MarketWarch (Feb. 14, 2018), https://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-
dreamers-are-less-likely-to-drop-out-of-high-school-2018-02-13; David Emery, Checking the Facts About
‘Dreamers’, Snopes (Jan. 25, 2018), https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/facts-about-dreamers-meme/.

7
similar pages also contain myriad instances of hateful Community Standards violations.
Facebook’s training materials state that Pages shall be deleted if its admin “receive[s] 5 ‘strikes’
within 90 days” or “if at least 30 percent of the content posted by other people within 90 days
violates Facebook’s community standards.” 51
As another example, Motherboard recently reported that your training materials
specifically allow the use of the “Happy Merchant” meme, despite the fact that it is a well-
recognized anti-Semitic hate symbol.52 “It is used for the purpose of dehumanizing the Jew as a
type of evil monster,” says The Daily Stormer, a prominent neo-Nazi website. 53
By superficially disallowing hate on Facebook, yet continuing to allow white nationalism
and white separatism on the platform, you are sending the message that these ideologies do not
promote racism and segregationism. You are legitimizing the rhetorical laundering of white
supremacy, and that enables the perpetuation of hate.
3. In Developing Their Materials, Facebook Predominantly Relied on Wikipedia
Entries.
Rather than relying on academic scholarship or other expertise in designing Facebook’s
training materials, you primarily cite and paraphrase Wikipedia to define and describe white
supremacy, white nationalism, and white separatism. While Wikipedia may be a commonly used
as a starting point for an inquiry, it is not a reliable source of information. Furthermore,
Wikipedia’s “openness and anonymity,” and the ease with which users can edit articles—such as
the definitions of various white ideologies—leave it “vulnerable to manipulation by neo-Nazis,
white nationalists and racist academics seeking a wider audience for extreme views.” 54 It is
difficult to take seriously Facebook’s commitment to ensuring that the platform is safe, secure and
welcoming, when your training materials’ sourcing would not be sufficient in a high school
English class. We fear that your company’s reliance on Wikipedia and lack of transparency as to
what other unnamed experts or sources you may have consulted signals that Facebook’s senior
leadership does not prioritize civil rights.

51
Joseph Cox, Leaked Documents Show Facebook’s ‘Threshold’ for Deleting Pages and Groups, Motherboard (July
18, 2018), https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/ne5nxz/leaked-documents-facebook-threshold-delete-pages-
groups.
52
Koebler and Cox; Happy Merchant, KnowYourMeme, http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/happy-merchant (last
visited Aug. 27, 2018). Your own materials recognize that this cartoon promotes the stereotype that Jewish people
are greedy. See id.
53
Anglin.
54
Justin Ward, Wikipedia wars: inside the fight against far-right editors, vandals and sock puppets, SPLC (March
12, 2018) https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/03/12/wikipedia-wars-inside-fight-against-far-right-editors-
vandals-and-sock-puppets. Wikipedia articles may also contain gender biases. See Computational Linguistics
Reveals How Wikipedia Articles Are Biased Against Women, MIT Tech. Rev. (Feb. 2, 2015),
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/534616/computational-linguistics-reveals-how-wikipedia-articles-are-biased-
against-women/.

8
Following the meeting, your staff asked us for recommendations of experts on race
relations and white supremacy. Experts on these issues include:
 Dr. Carol Anderson, Professor and Chair of African American Studies, Emory
University
 Dr. Antoine Banks, Associate Professor of Government and Politics, University of
Maryland
 Dr. Lonnie Bunch, President, Smithsonian National Museum of African American
History and Culture
 Kimberle Crenshaw, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law and Columbia Law School
 Dr. Charles Gallagher, Professor and Chair of Sociology, Social Work and Criminal
Justice Department, LaSalle University
 Dean Osamudia James, Acting Dean and Professor of Law, University of Miami School
of Law
 Dr. Ibram Kendi, Professor of History and Director, Antiracist Research and Policy
Center, American University
 Dr. Ruth Simmons, President, Prairie View A&M University; former President, Brown
University and Smith College
 Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director, Equal Justice Initiative and Professor of Law, New
York University School of Law
 Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, President Emerita, Spelman College
Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg have repeatedly expressed a commitment to ensuring
that Facebook is a safe and secure platform where everyone can feel welcome. 55 But your
company has not adequately followed through on those commitments. While Facebook has made
efforts and progress to redress hate—and we appreciate your effort and recognize the magnitude
of the problem—you have not done enough. Even if Facebook’s Community Standards
ostensibly prohibit hate on paper, ill-informed training materials like these result in arbitrary and
uneven enforcement, enabling hate in practice.
This mistake was avoidable. The Lawyers’ Committee and other civil rights organizations
have been asking you for greater transparency on your enforcement practices and training

55
See, e.g., Open Hearing: Foreign Influence Operations’ Use of Social Media Platforms before the Senate Select
Committee on Intelligence, Testimony of Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook (Sept. 5, 2018) (“Hate speech is against
our policies.”), available at https://www.intelligence.senate.gov/hearings/open-hearing-foreign-influence-
operations%E2%80%99-use-social-media-platforms; Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook (Aug. 16, 2017),
https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10103969849282011 (“There is no place for hate in our community.”);
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook (Aug. 14, 2017),
https://www.facebook.com/sheryl/posts/10159091256940177?notif_t=notify_me&notif_id=1502740798603838
(“Every generation has to be vigilant in fighting against the type of bigotry and hatred that was displayed by the
white supremacists in Charlottesville.”); Geir Moulson, Zuckerberg: no place for hate speech on Facebook,
Associated Press/Business Insider (Feb. 26, 2016), https://www.businessinsider.com/ap-zuckerberg-no-place-for-
hate-speech-on-facebook-2016-2.

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procedures at least since last year’s Charlottesville rally. According to Motherboard, the current
materials were deployed in January 2018.56 Bringing in experts on racism and hatred and rewriting
these training materials are not difficult or expensive tasks for a company worth over $500 billion.
We hope you will reconsider your approach in this instance and provide greater transparency to
prevent recurring issues in the future. We request a response, including a commitment to change
the training materials, public announcement of the rule revision, and the engagement of external
subject matter experts, by September 14, 2018.

Sincerely,
Stop Hate Project
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Becky Monroe, Director
Arusha Gordon, Counsel
David Brody, Counsel & Senior Fellow for Privacy and Technology
Gabrielle Gray, National Coordinator

CC:
Laura W. Murphy
Senior Advisor, Facebook
President, Laura Murphy & Associates, LLC

56
Joseph Cox, Leaked Documents Show Facebook’s Post-Charlottesville Reckoning with American Nazis,
Motherboard (May 25, 2018), https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/mbkbbq/facebook-charlottesville-leaked-
documents-american-nazis.

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