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April 3, 2018
Data governance

An Open Letter to Facebook from the Data for Black Lives Movement

Over the past several years, Cambridge Analytica harvested the data of 87 million active Facebook users. We may never know what would have happened if this data did not land in the hands of individuals seeking to steer the country in the direction it is now. What we do know is that it’s not too late to do the right thing. This data, which would not exist without the 2.1 billion people who use Facebook, can and should be used to achieve a level of progress that fulfills the true promise of technology. Mr. Zuckerberg, I believe the world is ready for Facebook to live up to its mission — as “a tool for building community and bringing the world closer together.”

In the world we live in, data is destiny. For Black people, who have been disproportionately harmed by data-driven decision-making, this is especially true.

We urge you to work with Data for Black Lives and make a commitment to the following:

  1. Commit anonymized Facebook data to a Public Data Trust.
  2. Work with technologists, advocates, and ethicists to establish a Data Code of Ethics.
  3. Hire Black data scientists and research scientists.