Dec 18, 2018

Sheryl Sandberg: Facebook must do better on civil rights

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said Tuesday that the company needed to do better to protect civil rights on its platforms.

Why it matters: Civil rights groups have pushed the social network for years to better tackle harassment. This year — after a consulting firm hired by Facebook tried to link some of its critics to liberal billionaire George Soros — activists were able to get Facebook to agree to update the public on a civil rights audit into its platform.


  • "We know that we need to do more: to listen, look deeper and take action to respect fundamental rights," Sandberg said in a blog post that accompanied the release of the progress report on the ongoing audit.
  • The report touted Facebook’s efforts to combat voter suppression, reduce the possibility for discrimination in its ad platform and study algorithmic bias.
  • Laura Murphy, the former ACLU staffer hired to do the audit, said in the report that she will "explore various approaches to content moderation as well as measures for addressing censorship and harmful and potentially discriminating content on the platform" in the coming year.
  • She also said she would work to consider a structure to examine the civil rights implications of new Facebook products.

What they're saying: "This report is long on excuses and short on meaningful progress," said the racial justice group Color of Change in a statement. "It is not enough to merely identify the many challenges that we have explained to Facebook."

What's next? Facebook will release another update in 2019, said Murphy.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 p.m. ET: 721,817 — Total deaths: 33,968 — Total recoveries: 151,204.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 11 p.m. ET: 142,328 — Total deaths: 2,489 — Total recoveries: 4,767.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump says his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Infections number tops 140,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now infected over 142,000 people in the U.S. — more than any other country in the world, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: COVID-19 had killed over 2,400 people in the U.S. by Sunday night. That's far fewer than in Italy, where over 10,000 people have died — accounting for a third of the global death toll. The number of people who've recovered from the virus in the U.S. exceeded 2,600 Sunday evening.

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now more than 720,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 33,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.

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