President Joe Biden’s associate attorney general nominee Vanita Gupta urged Facebook in 2018 to adopt more censorship and hate speech policies because of free speech’s “harms” to “civil rights.”
In a letter addressed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2018, Gupta’s leftist interest group The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights laid out 11 ways the company has neglected what they claim are civil rights. Gupta’s twisted interpretation was that Facebook should therefore engage in increased levels of censorship and content policing.
“As a company whose public mission is to ‘give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together,’ Facebook has a responsibility to ensure that the platform is not used to drive bigotry and stoke racial or religious resentment and violence,” the letter states. “But for years, Facebook’s refusal to acknowledge and/or chronic mismanagement of civil and human rights violations occurring on the platform have raised many questions about Facebook—primarily, whether you are willing or able to fix the toxic online environment that you have allowed to flourish.”
The letter goes on to claim that several “harms” are indicative of why Facebook must purge its “toxic environment.” This includes the idea that white men are supposedly protected from hate speech but not black people, “racially charged “advertisements” that suppress voters of color, a lack of “anti-bias training and civil rights education for staff,” as well as “insufficient protections” for users who are attacked by misogynists.
Gupta called for an “audit” of Facebook for allowing “well-documented harms” to exist on the platform. To leftists like Gupta, “hate speech” is not merely rude speech or already outlawed calls to violence, but can include expressing a mainstream conservative perspective or a religious perspective such as that male and female are objectively defined. The letter also claims that Facebook should not look into anti-conservative bias since civil rights are “non-partisan.”
Surely, civil rights are in fact non-partisan. But Gupta conflates authoritarian oppression with freedom and discourse. Facebook and other corporations have colluded to censor conservatives in an unprecedented way for years, and the LCCR’s notion that “civil rights” requires Facebook to remove “hate speech” goes against the very notion of the First Amendment to the Constitution.
According to the letter, questioning same-sex marriage should have disqualified Facebook appointee former Arizona Sen. John Kyl from analyzing anti-conservative bias on the platform. An eight-page independent report by Kyl and his law firm Covington and Burling concluded that Facebook’s fact-checking and misinformation flagging has silenced some conservatives on the platform, such as anti-abortion groups.
“Facebook appointed former Senator Jon Kyl to lead the anti-conservative bias review and ignored the fact that he has made incendiary and discriminatory remarks against Muslims, voted for a constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage, and has had a deplorable record on civil rights and liberties,” the letter continues. “While the strategy of announcing the audit at the same time may have been the politically expedient thing to do, it is also morally bankrupt.”
The letter was signed by Gupta and Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, a leftist racial agitation group.
Gupta has not yet been confirmed by the Senate and her hearing dates before the Judiciary Committee are yet to be determined.