Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The findings from a new civil rights audit commissioned and released by Facebook show that the tech giant repeatedly failed to address issues of hatred, bigotry and manipulation on its platform.

Why it matters: The report comes as Facebook confronts a growing advertiser boycott and criticism for prioritizing freedom of speech over limiting misinformation and protecting users targeted by hate speech.

What they're saying: “Unfortunately, in our view Facebook’s approach to civil rights remains too reactive and piecemeal,” the auditors wrote.

  • “The Auditors do not believe that Facebook is sufficiently attuned to the depth of concern on the issue of polarization and the way that the algorithms used by Facebook inadvertently fuel extreme and polarizing content."

Ahead of the 2020 election, the auditors slammed Facebook for not doing enough "to limit misinformation and voter suppression."

  • “With less than five months before a presidential election, it confounds the auditors as to why Facebook has failed to grasp the urgency,” according to the report.

Context: The audit's release comes on the heels of a tense virtual meeting between Facebook and leaders from the civil rights community, who yesterday blasted Facebook executives for "failing to meet the moment."

Details: The nearly two-year long audit was conducted by civil rights veteran Laura W. Murphy and Megan Cacace, partner in the civil rights law firm Relman Colfax, PLLC.

  • Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in an online post that "this two-year journey has had a profound effect on the way we think about our impact on the world."
  • "We have made real progress over the years, but this work is never finished and we know what a big responsibility Facebook has to get better at finding and removing hateful content," she wrote.

Go deeper: Boycott organizers slam Facebook following tense virtual meeting

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Jul 16, 2020 - Technology

Facebook to label posts about voting from presidential candidates

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook announced Thursday that it will add labels to all posts from presidential and congressional candidates and federally-elected officials that mention voting or ballots, regardless of whether they contain misinformation.

Why it matters: It's the tech giant's response to scrutiny that it doesn't do enough to tackle voter suppression on its platform. Earlier this year, Facebook — unlike Twitter — did not take action against posts from President Trump that included false information about mail-in voting.

Elliott Abrams to replace Brian Hook as Trump's Iran envoy

Brian Hook. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Image

President Trump's Iran envoy, Brian Hook, is stepping down, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed Thursday. He will be replaced with Venezuela envoy Elliott Abrams, a noted Iran hawk who will serve in both roles.

Why it matters: Hook had been tasked with executing Trump's "maximum pressure" policy toward Iran, working closely with Pompeo. That strategy has deepened tensions and thus far failed to force Iran back to the negotiating table, as Trump had hoped.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests positive for coronavirus ahead of Trump visit

Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) has tested positive for COVID-19 and plans to quarantine at his home for the next 14 days, his office announced Thursday. He currently has no symptoms.

Why it matters: The 73-year-old DeWine was set to meet President Trump Thursday on the tarmac at an airport in Cleveland and was tested as part of standard protocol. He is the second governor known to have contracted the coronavirus, after Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R).