Facebook 'log out' boycott underway after alleged black voter suppression

A civil rights organisation in the US has called for a boycott of after a report found a Russian influence campaign on the platform was working to suppress African-American voter turnout.

The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) is leading the #LogOut protest on Tuesday, 18 December, while also calling on Congress to further investigate the social network.

A report for the US Senate Intelligence Committee into Russia's online meddling in the build up to the 2016 Presidential election determined black voters were specifically targetted by Russian operatives on social media.

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Researchers at Oxford University and network analysis firm Graphika found Russians "sought to confuse, distract and ultimately discourage" black people from voting, as well as other voting blocks that could challenge Donald Trump.

"Over the last year, NAACP has expressed concerns about the numerous data breaches and privacy mishaps in which Facebook has been imtplicated," the NAACP said in a statement.

"And since the onset of the Silicon Valley boom, the organisation has been openly critical about the lack of employee diversity among the top technology firms in the country."

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How to stop Facebook from revealing everything about you

Show all 9

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How to stop Facebook from revealing everything about you

1/9

Lock your profile down

If you haven’t done this already, do it now. In Settings, hit the Privacy tab. From here, you can control who gets to see your future posts and friends list. Choose from Public, Friends, Only Me and Custom in the dropdown menu.

2/9

Limit old posts

Annoyingly, changing this has no effect on who’s able to see your past Facebook posts. Instead, on the Privacy page, you have to click on Limit Past Posts, then select Limit Old Posts and finally hit Confirm on the pop-up.

3/9

Make yourself harder to find

You can stop completely random people from adding you by selecting Friends of Friends from the dropdown menu in the Who can send you friend requests? section of the Privacy page. It’s also worth limiting who can find your Facebook profile with your number and email address. At the bottom of the page is the option to prevent search engines outside of Facebook from linking to your profile.

4/9

Control access to your Timeline

You can limit who gets to post things on your Timeline and who gets to see posts on your Timeline too. In Settings, go to Timeline and Tagging and edit the sections you want to lock down.

5/9

Block people

When you block someone, they won’t be able to see things you post on your Timeline, tag you, invite you to events or groups, start conversations with you or add you as a friend. To do it, go to Settings and Blocking. Annoyingly, you have to block people on Messenger separately. You can also add friends to your Restricted list here, which means they’ll still be friends with you but will only be able to see your public posts and things you share on a mutual friend's Timeline.

6/9

Review tags

One of Facebook’s handiest privacy features is the ability to review posts you’re tagged in before they appear on your Timeline. They’ll still be visible on the News Feed while they’re fresh, but won’t be tied to your profile forever. In Timeline and Tagging, enable Timeline review controls.

7/9

Clean up your apps

You can view a list of all of the apps you’ve connected to your Facebook account by going to Settings and Apps. The list might be longer than you expected it to be. It’s worth tidying this up to ensure things you no longer use lose access to your personal information. If you don’t want to log into websites and apps with your facebook account, scroll down and turn Platform off.

8/9

Change your ad preferences

You can view a list of everything Facebook thinks you’re into and tinker with your ad preferences by going to Settings and Adverts. A lot more information is displayed on the desktop site than the app, so we’d recommend doing this on a computer.

9/9

Download your data

Facebook lets you download all of the data it has on you, including the posts you’ve shared, your messages and photos, ads you’ve clicked on and even the IP addresses that are logged when you log in or out of the site. It’s a hell of a lot of information, which you should download to ensure you never over-share on the social network again.

1/9

Lock your profile down

If you haven’t done this already, do it now. In Settings, hit the Privacy tab. From here, you can control who gets to see your future posts and friends list. Choose from Public, Friends, Only Me and Custom in the dropdown menu.

2/9

Limit old posts

Annoyingly, changing this has no effect on who’s able to see your past Facebook posts. Instead, on the Privacy page, you have to click on Limit Past Posts, then select Limit Old Posts and finally hit Confirm on the pop-up.

3/9

Make yourself harder to find

You can stop completely random people from adding you by selecting Friends of Friends from the dropdown menu in the Who can send you friend requests? section of the Privacy page. It’s also worth limiting who can find your Facebook profile with your number and email address. At the bottom of the page is the option to prevent search engines outside of Facebook from linking to your profile.

4/9

Control access to your Timeline

You can limit who gets to post things on your Timeline and who gets to see posts on your Timeline too. In Settings, go to Timeline and Tagging and edit the sections you want to lock down.

5/9

Block people

When you block someone, they won’t be able to see things you post on your Timeline, tag you, invite you to events or groups, start conversations with you or add you as a friend. To do it, go to Settings and Blocking. Annoyingly, you have to block people on Messenger separately. You can also add friends to your Restricted list here, which means they’ll still be friends with you but will only be able to see your public posts and things you share on a mutual friend's Timeline.

6/9

Review tags

One of Facebook’s handiest privacy features is the ability to review posts you’re tagged in before they appear on your Timeline. They’ll still be visible on the News Feed while they’re fresh, but won’t be tied to your profile forever. In Timeline and Tagging, enable Timeline review controls.

7/9

Clean up your apps

You can view a list of all of the apps you’ve connected to your Facebook account by going to Settings and Apps. The list might be longer than you expected it to be. It’s worth tidying this up to ensure things you no longer use lose access to your personal information. If you don’t want to log into websites and apps with your facebook account, scroll down and turn Platform off.

8/9

Change your ad preferences

You can view a list of everything Facebook thinks you’re into and tinker with your ad preferences by going to Settings and Adverts. A lot more information is displayed on the desktop site than the app, so we’d recommend doing this on a computer.

9/9

Download your data

Facebook lets you download all of the data it has on you, including the posts you’ve shared, your messages and photos, ads you’ve clicked on and even the IP addresses that are logged when you log in or out of the site. It’s a hell of a lot of information, which you should download to ensure you never over-share on the social network again.

The civil rights organisation called on its supporters to log out of Facebook and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, for one week.

The NAACP said it also returned a recent donation from Facebook following the revelations.

"Facebook's engagement with partisan firms, its targeting of political opponents, the spread of misinformation and the utilisation of Facebook for propaganda promoting disingenuous portrayals of the African American community is reprehensible," said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP.

It is not the first boycott campaign Facebook has faced this year, with several high-profile figures in the tech industry calling for people to delete Facebook in March as a result of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal .

Among those leading the boycott was WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, whose company was bought by Facebook for $19bn in 2014. Figures from the social network revealed around a million daily and active users in Europe left the social network in the three months leading up to October.

A spokesperson for Facebook responded to a request for comment from The Independent by referring to a post by Sheryl Sandberg, the firm's chief operating officer.

"Civil rights are core to American values of equality, dignity and freedom from discrimination. Advancing civil rights benefits all of us and is what we stand for as a people," the post stated.

"In May, we accepted the call to undertake a civil rights audit. We asked Laura Murphy, a highly respected civil rights and civil liberties leader, to guide the audit. After speaking with more than 90 civil rights organizations, today Laura is providing an important update on our progress.

"Facebook is committed to working with leading US civil rights organizations to strengthen and advance civil rights on our service. They’ve raised a number of important concerns, and I’m grateful for their candor and guidance. We know that we need to do more: to listen, look deeper and take action to respect fundamental rights."

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