Information is Power. Disinformation is Dangerous.

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Now, our movement is facing threats like never before — and we must stand together in the fight against conspiracy theories, falsehoods, and disinformation. It is time to #StopHateForProfit.

Kailee Scales — Managing Director, Black Lives Matter Global Network

“This country has a long legacy of citizens having to fight for their right to vote and fight for their voices to be heard…no social media platform has the right to uproot those rights that citizens in this country have fought and died for.” — Kailee Scales, Managing Director, Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, Inc.,

This time, let’s do this.

We can all agree that this time is different. The horror is different. The awakening is different. The response is different.

The collective shock and trauma of witnessing a figure of authority nonchalantly, yet brutally murder an unarmed man has changed all of us. Forever.

Racial injustice has been forced to the forefront of public consciousness, the sentiment both “How Did This Happen?” and “Enough is Enough.” The call for solutions is so thunderous that people everywhere are working overtime to show support for Black people.

This time has thrust us a looking glass and we don’t like what we see. We are galvanized to change. Organizers, activists, and movement leaders know that this is the moment we have been waiting for, this collective gaze upon racial inequality. So we are talking about everything — nothing is off the table. Health inequity, economic injustice, criminal justice reform — divestment in police and reinvestment in communities — issues once considered radical left, are penetrating the lexicon and influencing the mainstream.

As we interrogate Black oppression, online disinformation and misinformation, once a techy, heady concept that was easy to chalk up to leftist conspiracies, has galloped into view. Online disinformation corrodes our ability to exercise free power of choice by utilizing fraud, deceit, threat, or other ulterior forms of coercion. This insidious phenomenon has gathered momentum over the past few years — we see increasing incidents of fraudulent accounts on Facebook and other social media platforms working to confuse, distract, and ultimately discourage global citizens from taking progressive stands.

Domestic and international disinformation agents work to appear bigger and more relevant than they are. They misappropriate images of Black people and impersonate organizers and movement leaders in an attempt to cause chaos and harm to our communities. History shows us that organized disinformation threatens the public discourse and is a tried-and-true way to undermine the liberation work of champions for racial justice.

Disturbingly, during the 2020 primaries, we have seen repeated attempts to suppress the power of our vote through outright lies and bullying tactics. We have witnessed everything from direct voter disinformation on polling place closing times, to intentionally wrong information about how to vote. And this is no accident. In an election year, disinformation agents have clear marching orders — impact the election.

But this time, the response is different and weeks and weeks of anti-racism protests across the world have resulted in new intolerance.

Kailee Scales, Managing Director, Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, Inc., speaks as part of the voter suppression and democratic integrity panel during the George Washington University Forum on Social Media Disinformation and Election Interference on June 29, 2020.

Social media platforms like Facebook have been publicly criticized by civil rights leaders, their own employees, and big business for allowing disinformation to be consumed by their users. Demands for change began after Facebook refused to fact check or flag a series of Trump’s tweets, including one during the George Floyd protests that warned “looting” would lead to “shooting.” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shirked responsibility, stating his belief that social media companies should not be “arbiters of truth.”

The #StopHateForProfit website accuses Facebook of allowing “incitement to violence against protesters fighting for racial justice in America in the wake of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and so many others.”

This suggests that Facebook’s nearly $70B in advertising profits are ill-gained because their sheer reach makes them the most powerful source of disinformation on the planet. They’re choosing dollars over democracy and it is undermining our freedom and liberty.

Today, we at Black Lives Matter Global Network join the #StopHateForProfit campaign protesting Facebook’s inaction against disinformation and hate speech on their platform.

In addressing disinformation, we address the false information deliberately and often covertly spread (by the planting of rumors) in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth. We protect our movement, our voices, and our lives from being manipulated and drowned out by right-wing conspiracy theories, foreign agents, and dangerous actors.

We will continue to amplify disinformation and hope that you will seek the most reputable sources and walk, eyes wide open, into Freedom Summer.

That way, hopefully, this time really will be different.

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Black Lives Matter Global Network

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