Caribbean News, Latin America News:
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. July 3, 2020: A petition has been launched on Change.org against Facebook’s Chief Global Diversity Officer, Maxine Williams “for bias tampering.”
The petition started by Trinidad-based blogger Marcia Braveboy, claims Williams, who was born in Trinidad and Tobago, is “hell-bent on influencing the outcome of elections” there. The last possible date for the next general election in T&T is December 2020.
At press time, the petition, headlined: “Time to FIRE Maxine Williams from Facebook for political tampering,” had received 314 signatures of its 500. It is addressed to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
It makes a serious allegation that Williams “is using and abusing Facebook’s policies to muzzle perceived supporters and opponents” of the opposition United National Congress” of Trinidad.
Braveboy cites as evidence the removal from Facebook of several posts from her page and those of one other party, which were not in breach of Facebook rules; but which are highly critical of the incumbent People’s National Movement political party, (PNM).
“It is our considered opinion that Ms. Maxine Williams is using and abusing Facebook’s policies to muzzle perceived supporters and opponents of the Official Opposition Party United National Congress. This is a direct tampering with our democratic process in Trinidad and Tobago; and a blatant contravention of the very policies of Facebook and its founders,” the petition states.
Braveboy also claims that feed posts are too often not visible in spite of consistent complaints to Facebook that the posts are non-offensive and purely informational, and reflect articles from the daily local newspapers which depicts the PNM government in an unfavourable light; and regular implementation of Facebook’s 30-day-ban for posts, which does not contravene any of Facebook’s policies.
“An example which points to a clear bias , she said, “ was when one such particular post was removed from her ‘Braveboy Report’ page; with that page being banned for 30 days, but that particular post remaining on other Facebook platforms.’”
The petitioner is calling for an investigation into their claims.
News Americas reached out to Facebook’s press office Thursday for a comment but received no response at press time.
The claim comes at a time when hundreds of companies have promised to halt advertising on Facebook and its sibling platform Instagram as part of month-long boycott, #StopHateforProfit. The movement asks companies to pause advertising spending on the Facebook platform for the month of July and is being led by civil rights groups including the Color of Change, the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP and others.
And as Facebook employees concerns over diversity have gained traction again in recent weeks amid the national reckoning over racism and the protests against police brutality. Many employees were particularly dismayed that a decision to leave up an inflammatory post by President Trump about the protests was made by a group that included only one Black member, chief diversity officer Williams.