TIMELINE

REFERENCES/ANNOTATIONS

USA TODAY ARTICLE - LINK

  • Black activists say hate speech policies and content moderation stifle marginalized groups.

  • Mark Zuckerberg says lawmakers tell him Facebook has too much power over speech. "Frankly I agree."

  • Civil rights groups say Facebook has not cut down on hate speech against African Americans.

On Tue, Apr 30, 2019 at 11:02 AM Ruchika Budhraja <budhraja@fb.com> wrote:

Hi Natasha,

 

I hope this email finds you well. And I hope it’s okay that I’m reaching out. I got your email address from Jessica Guynn at USA Today who said you might be willing to meet with us about the issues that you have experienced on Facebook.

 

In Jessica’s recent USA Today piece, you said that Facebook has allowed you to say and do things you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do, but it’s also desensitized you to the N-word and ugliness in the form of racism and discrimination. I’m so happy to hear the former, and genuinely pained to hear the latter. No one should be desensitized to hate, and to the extent that Facebook has contributed to that feeling, I’m so so sorry.

  

I know actions speak a lot louder than words, so I was hoping you’d be willing to meet with me and my colleagues to hear from us about some of the actions we’re taking to address the issues that you and others experience day in, day out on Facebook. I also think it would be incredibly helpful to hear directly from you – yes, I read the USA Today article, yes, I know this is a problem and we need to do better, but I would be grateful for the chance to hear specifics from you to the extent you’re willing to share them. 

 

Jessica’s piece mentioned that you’re based in Seattle, so if you’re up for it, maybe we can set up a video call? Let me know what you think. The week of May 13 might work best for us because some of my team is traveling this week and next, but let me know what works for you and we will adjust to accommodate however we can.

 

Thank you for giving me the chance to email you.

 

I look forward to hearing from you,

Ruchika

'Black people are punished on Facebook'

"Black people are punished on Facebook for speaking directly to the racism we have experienced," says Seattle black anti-racism consultant and conceptual artist Natasha Marin.


Marin says she's one of Facebook's biggest fans. She created a "reparations" fund that's aided a quarter million people with small donations to get elderly folks transportation to medical appointments or to pay for prescriptions, to help single moms afford groceries or the rent or to get supplies for struggling new parents. More recently, she started a social media project spreading "black joy" rather than black trauma.
 

She was also banned by Facebook for three days for posting a screenshot of a racist message she received.

MAY 2019

Date: Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at 11:41 AM
To: Ruchika Budhraja <budhraja@fb.com>
Subject: Re: Content issues on Facebook

 

Hi Ruchika,
I'd love to follow up with you about this. The week of May 13th works for me and video call is A-OK.

 

A little background/context: I've been using Facebook since 2008 I think and I am a prolific content creator. In 2012, a Facebook film crew flew up to Seattle to make this Facebook Story about one of the communities I created online. This was presented to Mark Zuckerberg at an all-company meeting that same year. In 2016, I launched a FB event page called Reparations that went viral and engaged a quarter of a million people worldwide-- it continues today as a group. That same year I was doxxed and sent death threats because I dared to challenge white-identified folks to leverage their privilege. 

 

I am literally an expert in digital engagement who could never get a call-back or an interview when I applied for jobs at Facebook (or Racebook?). I now work for myself as an anti-racism consultant and let me tell you ... business is booming! A Bengali friend of mine is currently working at Facebook Seattle and she says that basically everyone who reviews race-based content is located in Mumbai (where I have been, I have a 10-yr visa to India) a place that is expert on many things, but not at all on fighting anti-black racism. I have been invited into groups like Facebook Power Admins, only to have those same group admins "power-trip" at questions like "when will this feature be released-- you've been asking us to 'be patient' for 18 months now?" be met with blocks and bans. I was blocked for asking this question (but really because a white woman didn't like my digital "tone.") Can I be surprised? How? Look at who you have running your own communities--it sure isn't folks who look like me.

 

april 2019

On Wed, May 1, 2019 at 5:20 AM Ruchika Budhraja <budhraja@fb.com> wrote:
 

Thank you so much for getting back to me, Erin. I know this is a lot to ask, and really really appreciate your willingness to meet with us and share more about your experiences.

 

The background is really helpful as a starting point. It pains me to know that you’ve been subject to so much toxicity online. You mentioned the Facebook Power Admins group and said you got blocked. Does that mean you’re not a part of the group any longer? Just want to make sure we can cover all the things you want to cover when we meet, so please let me know if there’s anything else you’d be open to sharing via email ahead of time.  

 

Let me talk to the people on our side who plan to join the meeting (from our policy and operations team) and get back to you with a specific set of times for the week of May 13.

 

I look forward to meeting in person,

Ruchika   

On Wed, May 1, 2019 at 5:20 AM Ruchika Budhraja <budhraja@fb.com> wrote:
 

Thank you so much for getting back to me, Erin. I know this is a lot to ask, and really really appreciate your willingness to meet with us and share more about your experiences.

 

The background is really helpful as a starting point. It pains me to know that you’ve been subject to so much toxicity online. You mentioned the Facebook Power Admins group and said you got blocked. Does that mean you’re not a part of the group any longer? Just want to make sure we can cover all the things you want to cover when we meet, so please let me know if there’s anything else you’d be open to sharing via email ahead of time.  

 

Let me talk to the people on our side who plan to join the meeting (from our policy and operations team) and get back to you with a specific set of times for the week of May 13.

 

I look forward to meeting in person,

Ruchika   

Maybe Mark Zuckerberg needs to sit down with a bunch of black women who use Facebook and just listen. - Natasha Marin

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