Civil Rights Activists Meet Zuckerberg, As Facebook Rebrands

Reverend Al Sharpton and other campaigners have held a two hour meeting at Mark Zuckerberg’s house over political content on the platform.

The civil rights activist was quoted by Reuters as saying that he had a “no-holds-barred meeting” with Mark Zuckerberg at the Facebook CEO’s home on Monday over the company’s decision not to fact-check ads and other content from politicians.

Zuckerberg has been on the defensive recently over Facebook’s stance of allowing adverts from politicians that contain false or misleading claims, saying that Facebook did not want to stifle political speech.

Facebook adverts

The pressure on Zuckerberg was increased when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey revealed that from 20 November, Twitter would ban all political adverts around the world.

And Facebook has this week removed an advert from a tax campaign group in the UK for breaking its rules on political advertising.

According to the BBC, the Fair Tax Campaign has been running an ad with the message “could you afford an extra £214 each month?”

It claims that this is what Labour’s tax plans would mean for everyone.

Facebook had banned the ad as it should have carried a “paid for by” disclaimer.

Meanwhile the issue of political adverts containing false information is likewise a big issue on the other side of the Atlantic.

The meeting between Reverend Al Sharpton and Zuckerberg lasted nearly two hours at Zuckerberg’s Palo Alto house, Reuters reported. Mmultiple civil rights activists and Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg also attended the meeting.

“We told him that we feel that the exemption for politicians could be used to suppress voting, give wrong messaging and could suppress census taking,” Sharpton told Reuters in a phone interview on Monday after the meeting.

“He listened,” said Sharpton, who had sent Zuckerberg a letter to request the meeting. “He made no firm commitments of change but he seemed open,” he added.

Zuckerberg had told Congress last month that Facebook would take down content from politicians that could risk voter or census suppression. Sharpton said, however, he thought that a wide array of content from politicians could indirectly cause such suppression.

Facebook said in a statement the firm was grateful that the civil rights leaders took the time to attend the dinner with Zuckerberg and Sandberg.

“They discussed a range of important issues and we look forward to continuing these conversations,” the statement reportedly said.

Facebook rebrand

Meanwhile Facebook has announced that it has rebranded itself.

“Today, we’re updating our company branding to be clearer about the products that come from Facebook,” the firm said. “We’re introducing a new company logo and further distinguishing the Facebook company from the Facebook app, which will keep its own branding.”

The new branding was designed for clarity, and uses custom typography and capitalisation to create visual distinction between the company and app, said the firm.

Essentially, the biggest difference users will notice is that instead of the logo Facebook, it is now known as FACEBOOK.

The new logo uses “dynamic” colours, with the logo “taking on the colour of its environment”.

Quiz: Think you know all about Facebook?

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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