WASHINGTON – In an opinion piece in Politico, Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, criticizes Facebook’s move to exempt politicians’ speech from its community standards. Gupta examines how the new policy will allow politicians free rein to spread misinformation and racially divisive content.
Under Gupta’s direction, The Leadership Conference has pressed Facebook to develop safeguards against discrimination and to reduce activities that endanger marginalized communities, such as voter suppression and efforts to undermine the 2020 Census.
These efforts prompted her to speak out and challenge Facebook’s commitment to preserving the integrity of our democracy after the company unveiled the new parameters.
“If Facebook is truly committed to building community and combating voter and census suppression, it must require politicians to abide by the same community standards as everyone else,” Gupta said.
Gupta argues that Facebook’s policy will permit politicians — both candidates and elected officials — to continue to feed divisive narratives and amplify racial appeals for electoral gain. “Racism is shape-shifting and highly adaptable. It often permeates the public dialogue through coded language and dog whistles. As a leading technology company, Facebook must acknowledge this and embrace policies that define voter and census suppression as broadly as possible,” she wrote.
Gupta was also head of the US Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division under President Obama.