WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — American Family Voices, along with a coalition that includes Change the Ref, Fund for Reparations Now and the National African American Reparations Commission, today launched a petition to demand that Big Tech take steps to address the deluge of extremist rhetoric and hate merchandise on their platforms. It also calls on Congress and the Biden Administration to create and enforce legislation that protects Americans and our democracy, and holds accountable those companies that neglect their responsibilities. This demand, backed by notable activists and celebrities including Rosario Dawson, Mark Ruffalo, Chelsea Handler, Alyssa Milano, Patricia Oliver, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, Don Rojas, Ben Jealous, People For the American Way, and the National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC), comes just weeks after a violent mob—whipped up by conspiracy theories and hate speech hosted on Big Tech platforms—attempted to take over the U.S. Capitol building and overthrow a democratic election.
“The Big Tech companies that enable and profit from the spread of disinformation—such as Amazon, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter—bear responsibility for the tragic events of January 6, and they are continuing their tacit support of hatred and lies through inaction while claiming to want to be part of the solution,” said Lauren Windsor, Executive Director at American Family Voices. “These companies have shown that they care about their profits more than the common good. Our leaders need to enact and vigorously enforce meaningful regulation to protect our nation, our democracy, and our citizens who have been put at risk.”
The coalition pointed to several examples of how Big Tech has facilitated the spread of racist and violent content. The U.S. Capitol was attacked by white supremacists who were empowered and emboldened by lies spread on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Many who led the violent assault that left five people dead were clad in Proud Boys garb sold on Amazon. This summer, at the height of racial justice demonstrations, Amazon was selling hats with the slogan “Black Lives Don’t Matter” and glorifying mass shooters.
While a majority of Americans oppose these dangerous ideas, Big Tech companies have pursued profit at the expense of common-sense standards for humanity and decency. Unless regulated by Congress, Big Tech will lack any incentive to stop the spread of disinformation, the sale of dangerous products, or the facilitation of communications among violent extremists.
“We readily accept that television advertising must be regulated–it’s time for Big Tech to be regulated,” said Ben Jealous, President of People For the American Way. “Facebook, Twitter and Amazon should not be allowed to enrich themselves at the expense of our democracy, let alone people’s lives.”
The petition can be viewed and signed here.
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SOURCE American Family Voices