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Facebook's Zuckerberg to meet activists, won't act on boycott

The news comes amid increased pressure on the leading social network to clamp down on incendiary content which promotes racism and violence, which has gained momentum with more than 650 advertisers joining a boycott.

FILE: The founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the 56th Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, southern Germany, on 15 February 2020. Picture: AFP

WASHINGTON - Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has agreed to a new meeting with activists on the social media giant's content policies while vowing to resist pressure from an advertiser boycott, the company said Thursday.

The news comes amid increased pressure on the leading social network to clamp down on incendiary content which promotes racism and violence, which has gained momentum with more than 650 advertisers joining a boycott.

Zuckerberg told an employee meeting this week the boycott is not likely to have a major impact and that most of the advertisers "will be back on the platform soon enough," according to an account first reported by The Information and confirmed by AFP.

The Facebook CEO repeated that he would not change policy based on "a threat" to revenue but based on "the right things" for the Facebook community.

"We're not gonna change our policies or approach on anything because of a threat to a small percent of our revenue, or any percent of our revenue," he said.

"We're gonna do what we think are the right things that we think are gonna serve the community best over time."

A Facebook spokesperson, asked about the pressure, said in an email: "We take these matters very seriously and respect the feedback from our partners... But as we've said, we make policy changes based on principles, not revenue pressures."

The spokesperson said Zuckerberg agreed to join a meeting with activist leaders including from the NAACP, Anti-Defamation League and Colour of Change to discuss Facebook's moderation practices.

"They asked about having Mark at the meeting, and we've since confirmed that Mark is able to join," the statement said.

The Washington Post reported the meeting would take place Monday.

The groups are seeking a top-level executive to evaluate "products and policies for discrimination, bias, and hate," according to a statement from the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, as well as independent audits of "identity-based hate and misinformation."

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