As part of its civil rights counseling practice, and at the behest and encouragement of the civil rights community and some members of Congress, Relman Colfax has been engaged (along with civil rights and civil liberties expert Laura Murphy) to conduct an assessment of the civil rights implications of Facebook’s policies and practices.  This Civil Rights Audit began in 2018 and has resulted in three reports, a preliminary audit report released in December 2018, an update in July 2019, and most recently in July 2020 a final Civil Rights Audit report.  The nearly 100-page final report catalogues the changes and commitments Facebook has made through the Audit, and provides recommendations for additional actions.

The reports and the Audit—conducted independently, but with Facebook’s cooperation—are intended to help the company identify, prioritize, and implement sustained and comprehensive improvements in its compliance with civil rights and civil liberties concerns.  The Audit contains recommendations concerning (1) an internal civil rights accountability structure within Facebook; (2) the 2020 elections and Census; (3) content moderation and enforcement; (4) diversity and inclusion; (5) advertising practices; (6) algorithmic bias; and (7) privacy.

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