Even as Facebook continues to take a hands-off approach to monitoring violent rhetoric and disinformation on its platform, the company will make a $10 million donation “to groups working on racial justice” in the U.S., according to a late Sunday night post from chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.
The commitment from Facebook follows a week of protests around the country challenging police brutality — spurred by the dissemination of a video on Facebook showing the death of George Floyd, an African American man who was killed by police officers in Minneapolis.
Zuckerberg’s pledge comes after several prominent Facebook employees expressed their frustration with their company’s response on Twitter and only a few hours before a number of the company’s workers staged a virtual walkout.
“I work at Facebook and I am not proud of how we’re showing up,” Jason Toff, a director of product management at Facebook, wrote on Twitter. “The majority of coworkers I’ve spoken to feel the same way. We are making our voices heard.”
In his Facebook message, Zuckerberg calls attention to the fact that the video capturing George Floyd’s murder was posted on his platform.
“… it’s clear Facebook also has more work to do to keep people safe and ensure our systems don’t amplify bias,” wrote Zuckerberg. “The organizations fighting for justice also need funding, so Facebook is committing an additional $10 million to groups working on racial justice. We’re working with our civil rights advisors and our employees to identify organizations locally and nationally that could most effectively use this right now.”
The commitment from Facebook is in addition to roughly $40 million that Zuckerberg has invested “annually for several years” in organizations working to combat racial injustice.
For critics like Anand Giridharadas, the commitments from Facebook’s coffers don’t outweigh the problems with the company’s business model and its inability to adequately address the ways in which the company’s service amplifies disinformation.
“And so the giving back that he’s doing isn’t just a negligible contribution that won’t really make much difference,” Giridharadas writes. “It actually helps to make things worse, by buying his toxic business model a little more breathing room and political capital.”