Movements and Mis-steps

Bringing real heat on Facebook; Andrew Yang defends Nancy Lublin; police data going online; and much more.


This is civic tech: As the Movement for Black Lives deepens its political engagement with a three-day series of actions centered on Juneteenth this weekend, calls for People’s Budgets are spreading to more cities, Laura Bliss reports for CityLab; she notes that the moment represents an opportunity for the participatory budgeting movement, which is already active in many cities but until now has been limited in scope.
 
Tactical Tech has released the Organiser’s Activity Book, a self-learning resource for people
who work with the personal data of human rights defenders, investigators, campaigners, and others who are taking part in social or political action.
 
New York City is moving to create a public, online database of police disciplinary records, Erin Durkin reports for Politico. By July, pending charges against 1,100 cops — with the officer’s name, the charges against them and the date for a hearing — will be published online.
 
Apply: New Media Ventures is looking to hire a new head of investments.
 
The TechEquity Collaborative is looking for volunteers with skills in experience in web development, UI/UX design, or data analysis to work on its civic tech projects.
 
Rebellion in Facebookistan: A powerhouse coalition of civil rights organizations—the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Color Of Change, Free Press and Common Sense Media—has announced a new campaign, #StopHateforProfit, asking businesses that advertise on Facebook to pause their spending in July until the company takes real steps to stop amplifying white supremacists and do a better job of supporting people targeted via the platform.
 
Said Color of Change President Rashad Robinson, who has been meeting for years with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg in an effort to get the company to change, “We have been continually disappointed and stunned by Mark Zuckerberg’s commitment to protecting white supremacy, voter suppression and outright lies on Facebook. As corporations take a stand against racism in our society, they should consider how their advertising dollars support Facebook making Black people less safe online. Facebook’s failure of leadership has actively stoked the racial hatred we see in our country and even profits off its proliferation. A key way for major corporations to demand racial justice is to withhold their dollars until Facebook becomes more responsible and accountable to Black communities on the platform.”
 
Here’s the list of changes that the coalition is asking Facebook to make to its platform. What’s notable about the list is none of them require elevating decisions about content to the company’s C-suite; they are all fixes that product managers can implement, assuming the company has the will to make them. (Full disclosure: My smarter little brother Dave Sifry, is the Vice President of the ADL’s Center for Technology and Society and actively involved in this campaign.)
 
More than 70 employees of the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, including dozens that work on the philanthropy’s education team, are calling publicly for changes in how the organization combats systemic racism, Theodore Schleifer reports for Recode.
 
Crisis, continued: Crisis Text Line’s ex-CEO Nancy Lublin has hired a spokesperson, who told Zoe Schiffer of The Verge that “many of the complaints about Nancy are coming from disgruntled and anonymous former employees who were fired for performance issues at [Crisis Text Line].” Read Schiffer’s detailed report on those complaints and decide for yourself if they appear that way.
 
In another strange twist, former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has come to Lublin’s defense, telling Schiffer that he believes she has been treated unfairly. “When this came out the thing that struck me was where is the process, where is the investigation. Nancy has invested in and mentored and developed women and women of color in her multi-decade career. This is in very sharp contrast to a CEO who has never put women or women of color into positions of leadership and authority. To me the person you want to worry about is a person who has led organizations and never mentored women and women of color. That’s not Nancy.”
 
That is the same Andrew Yang who allegedly fired one female employee after she got married because he didn’t think she would work as hard, allegedly paid male employees more than female employees and then fired a women who complained about the disparity (paying a termination settlement in the aftermath), regularly invoked stereotypes about Asians in the course of his campaign, and when confronted by The New York Times’ Matt Stevens about his history as a CEO, admits that he “mis-stepped at various times.”
 
Deep thoughts: TechSoup board member Sheila Warren offers “Three Steps to Make Tech Companies More Equitable,” in Wired.

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