Facebook and Civil Rights: What are the Options? with Ebonie Riley (Ep. 212)
Facebook and Civil Rights-Leading civil rights organizations have asked Mark Zuckerberg to stop allowing politicians to lie in ads. He refuses. What’s next?
Ebonie Riley currently serves as DC Bureau Chief of National Action Network’s Washington, DC Bureau. The function of the Bureau is to advocate for and influence Federal public policy that reflects the needs and desires of the communities based on the Action Agenda set forth by the National Action Networks national board and senior leadership. In this capacity, Ebonie serves as a conduit for information about what is happening in the halls of Congress, in the office and administration of the President, and United States Supreme Court. Moreover, she and her team work to educate lawmakers and other stakeholders on the challenges and opportunities facing communities, by advocating for more resources and polices that help invest and advance economic and social equality.
Ebonie’s government affairs portfolio includes criminal justice, federal sentencing reform, ending racial profiling, equal employment protection, access to comprehensive healthcare, immigration, access to quality education, women’s rights, environmental justice, voting rights protection, housing, among other various issues that impact social and economic status, mobility, prosperity and empowerment of urban and under served communities.
Prior to this role, she served as the Bureau’s Research and Policy Associate, analyzing legislation, drafts advocacy strategies, develops policy recommendations and monitors policy developments related to federal, state and local legislation while co-managing NAN’s Social Media.
During her time at NAN she has helped organized several events and marches including coordinating NAN’s 2015 National Convention, NAN’s events in Baltimore, MD after the death of Freddie Gray, the Justice For All March in December 2014, NAN’s Legislative & Policy Conferences in 2015 and 2014, the National Action to Realize the Dream Rally and March in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington with over 200,000 people in attendance and Justice For Trayvon 100 City Vigil in Washington, D.C. both in 2013, just to name a few.
Born in Chicago, Illinois and growing up in Severn, Maryland, Ms. Riley graduated from Ft. Meade Senior High School and attended UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) where she graduated with Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and minor in History. While at UMBC; she served as President of Africana Studies Council of Majors, while sitting on several academic research teams that focused on civil rights, voting rights, political behavior and attitudes, identity politics, race and representation, Congress, and elections. Specific interests include political engagement, civil rights law, voter turnout, voter suppression, and identity group politics.
In a Facebook post, The City of Pensacola, Florida reported that it was the victim of a cyberattack over the weekend and into Monday, which took down much of the city’s network, including its online payment system and city government emails. 311 service was also affected. Pensacola Mayor Grover Robertson said in a press conference that it was not known whether the cyberattack was connected to last week’s shooting at the Pensacola Naval Station in which 3 people were killed and many others injured.
Legal troubles are mounting for Chinese social media company TikTok, whose growth has been outpacing that of established social media platforms, including Facebook. Bytedance, TikTok’s parent company, was already under federal investigation into potential ties to the Chinese government. Plaintiffs filed two lawsuits last week, one of which was settled. But a second lawsuit in the Northern District of California brought by a student alleges that TikTok is transferring private user data to the Chinese government.
Separately, German digital rights and digital culture blog NetzPolitik reported that TikTok has been blocking users with disabilities including overweight users and users with intellectual disabilities. Netzpolitik also reports that TikTok has been banning gay users as well. The company purports to ban these users so that they won’t be subjected to bullying.
Several LGBTQ+ civil rights groups are calling on Facebook to take down an ad posted by lawyers allegedly seeking to capitalize on misinformation about Truvada for PrEP, which studies have shown helps reduce the risk of contracting HIV by 99%. According to groups including GLAAD, The Human Rights Campaign and other groups, the lawyers are inaccurately claiming the drug causes certain side effects, and the groups are concerned that the ad will discourage people from taking the drug.
Finally, Google Ads staffers filed a complaint at The National Labor Relations Board last Tuesday, claiming they were fired in retaliation for their having joined or supported a labor group and protesting the company’s terms and conditions of employment. Reports also state that Google’s rules prevent employees from organizing. Google has not issued a statement.