Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg promised Sen. Corey Booker on Tuesday that he would do his best to prevent improper police surveillance of Black Lives Matter and similar groups on the popular social media website.
Booker voiced his concerns during a joint hearing with Zuckerberg and the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees about the social network’s personal data privacy, NorthJersey.com reported. The New Jersey senator spoke on what he calls “disturbing” reports that police agencies had used Facebook to monitor Black organizations like Black Lives Matter.
“I know you have expressed support for the group,” Booker stated. “But there are a lot of communities of color worried that their data can be used to surveil groups like Black Lives Matter, like folks who are trying to organize against substantive issues of discrimination in this country.”
Booker then asked if Zuckerberg would commit to making sure the rights and privacy of activists are protected and that their work/efforts aren’t being undermined.
“Yes, senator, I think that’s very important,” Zuckerberg replied. “We’re committed to that. And in general, unless law enforcement has a very clear subpoena, or ability, or reason to get access to information, we’re going to push back on that across the board.”
In addition to ensuring activists aren’t Targeted, Booker also asked the social network to stop running discriminatory ads for real estate, credit or jobs that purposefully target or exclude racial minorities. Federal law prohibits redlining ads for such services, NorthJersey.com reported, but Booker said Facebook has failed to address the issue effectively.
“… Would you be open to opening your platform for civil rights organizations to really audit a lot of these companies dealing in areas of credit [and] housing, to really audit what is actually happening and have better transparency?” the Senator asked.
Zuckerberg agreed, saying, “I think that’s a very good idea.”
“Over time, we’re going to move toward more proactive review,” the CEO continued. “In this specific case, I’m not happy with where we are. It make sense to really focus on making sure these areas get more review.”