Advance Notice: Briefs

Whitmer calls on Facebook CEO Zuckerberg to take action on hateful, violent group pages

By: - January 17, 2020 4:02 pm
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was back before Congress on Wednesday. Last year, as seen here, he testified before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sent Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg a letter Wednesday calling on him to enforce the social media network’s community standards and “do the right thing.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at a Center for American Progress forum in Washington | Robin Bravender

Whitmer writes that the “violent and hateful speech” on Facebook puts individual safety and election security at risk. 

We use Facebook to share special moments & funny memes with friends. But Facebook’s refusal to enforce the basic standards that they set themselves has allowed for disinformation, hatred, and violent rhetoric to run rampant,” Whiter wrote in a Twitter thread Wednesday afternoon. 

“Users have been allowed to call for certain Michigan congressional leaders to be “be hung and raped,” needing of “a bullet between her eyes,” or instead, just “set…on fire.” This is disgusting. This is immoral. This is unacceptable.”

The letter comes just days after the Detroit Metro Times reported on an anti-Whitmer group on Facebook, with posts about graphic violence against Democrats, anti-Muslim rhetoric and degrading comments about women. 

The Advance followed up on this story Wednesday morning with additional comments from Sen. Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Twp.), who was a member of the Facebook group, which has since been taken down.

“Michiganders are hardworking, passionate folks who deserve better than the most commonly used social media platform betraying the public’s trust and allowing for such vitriolic behavior to manifest and grow until it enters actual reality,” Whitmer tweeted. 

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.