New York’s editorial board is backing a lawsuit that aims to require Facebook — the social media giant that has faced criticism over how it handles hate speech — to remove content from its platform that it says promotes racism and violence.
The board on Monday wrote a letter to the board chairperson of the New York Daily News urging him to support the lawsuit by New York State Assemblywoman Nydia Velazquez (D-Queens), a Democrat, who is leading the effort to push for a similar law.
The New York-based Times has come under fire for a string of articles published by its news division over the last year that have included incendiary comments by employees, some of whom were fired for violating anti-discrimination laws.
In response to the backlash, the Times launched an internal review that led to the firing of some employees.
The Times recently hired a diversity and inclusion expert, and in July, it hired a new communications director to improve its diversity efforts.
The board said in its letter that it is seeking to make the case that Facebook should follow the lead of other major media companies by making its policies clear, including policies that prohibit hate speech.
“We believe it is important that all voices, no matter their content, be heard and protected from harassment and violence,” the board said.
“We will support any effort to ensure that Facebook’s policies reflect that.”
The Times editorial board has previously come under criticism for being too close to Facebook and other companies that have faced criticism for their policies.
In February, for instance, the newspaper published an editorial that said, “Facebook’s failure to protect people from hate speech and violence is not simply a failing of its own, but also of its business model.”
“We are proud to stand alongside so many others, including many of our fellow journalists, who have also spoken out against hate speech, and we remain committed to holding Facebook accountable for what it has done and continues to do to promote equality and inclusion in our communities,” the editorial board said, adding that the board will continue to be a “strong advocate for justice.”
“Our position is clear: the world is a better place when every American feels safe and valued,” the letter said.