Remove apps, content and links disseminating Breitbart News

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To the attention of: The members of the boards of Alphabet (Google/Youtube), Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter

As companies with a diverse and innovative workforce and diverse audience, you must by now be aware of, and concerned by, the increasing number of legally and ethically suspect policies being enacted by the new Trump Administration in the United States. Many of these focus on discriminating against, or even enabling direct harm to, both American and non-American citizens on the basis of race, religion, country of origin, nationality, or gender. It is also clear that these policies are being influenced directly by what we believe are white nationalist ideologies, espoused by publications disseminated by Breitbart News* which has direct influence over President Trump in the form of its former executive chairman Stephen Bannon.

This petition is not politically motivated. Politics change, political leaders are temporary, but how we treat each other has a lasting impact. If we treat each other with respect, listen to each others concerns without prejudice and genuine interest, then we can solve the challenges we are facing. If we vilify each other then our interactions will be poisoned for a long time and many people and whole societies will suffer. Hence it is imperative that we come to a broad agreement and a set of policies on how we treat each other in real life and online.

Responsible, ethical employers and global business entities, need to have policies that limit the exposure of their users to hateful speech, or speech that encourages hateful and violent actions.
These policies should be based on the values of respect, dignity, tolerance and fact-based discussion, and prohibit content advocating against groups of people based on their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, and/or or gender identity.

  1. If such policies are in place**, they need to be enforced and apps, content and links violating them need to be removed from your services.
  2. If such policies are not in place, then they need to be instituted and acted upon accordingly.

Laws, arguments and feelings about the extent of free speech differ widely even in democracies around the globe.
There is no one true answer to the extent of free speech and, as stated above, we urgently need to come to a broad agreement. This is not an easy task, but one that needs to start somewhere!
While slow and deliberate activities might often be preferable to swift and pervasive ones, the petitioners think that there is an urgency to start with Breitbart News as it is currently one of the main distribution channels for content contrary to respect, dignity, tolerance and fact-based discussion in the US and around the world.

Some examples of the content Breitbart News has been disseminating:

Breitbart News headlines that should speak for themelves:

  • "Would you rather your child had feminism or cancer?"
  • "Gay rights have made us dumber, it's time to get back in the closet"
  • "The solution to online ‘harassment’ is simple: Women should log off."
  • "Science proves it: fat-shaming works"
  • "Why equality and diversity departments should only hire rich, straight white men"
  • "Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy"
  • "There's no hiring bias against women in tech, they just suck at interviews"

Breitbart News headlines in context:

  • In July 2015, after nine people were shot to death in an African-American Charleston church by a confederate flag-loving white supremacist, Breitbart published a story with the headline, "Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage."
  • Recently Breitbart News reported that “Revealed: 1,000-man [muslim] mob attack police, set Germany’s oldest church alight on New Year’s Eve.” It was reported by local officials and local media that there was neither a mob, nor did the church catch fire, neither that it is the oldest church in Germany. The only thing that happened was a brief fire on a scaffold which was caused accidentally by one stray fireworks device.

3M, AARP, AppNexus, Allstate, BMW, Kellogs, T-Mobile, Vanguard, Warby Parker and many other companies and organisations have already taken action by pulling their advertisments from Breitbart News as they seem to agree that it is urgent to stand up for the aforementioned values.

The petitioners call upon each of you:

  1. to enforce existing content policies and remove all content by Breitbart News from your services as it grossly violates the stated values and disseminates content contrary to the aforementioned policies.
  2. to institute such policies, if not done so yet, and act according to 1.

Kristof Kessler, Braunschweig, Germany
Samantha Mills, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Chadley Parsons, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada,
Stefan Sunandan Honisch, PhD, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
and all people supporting this petition.

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If you are signing this petition, please also consider sending the exact text of this petition directly via e-Mail, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or other feedback mechanism to the companies being addressed. Thank you.
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This petition will be sent to the respective boards via:

  • Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Alphabet Inc.
  • Jeffrey P. Bezos, President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board, Amazon.com, Inc.
  • Tim Cook, Chief Executive Officer, Apple Inc.
  • Mark Zuckerberg, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Facebook
  • John W. Thompson, Chairman, Satya Nadalla, Chief Executive Officer, and Bill Gates, Founder and Technology Adviser, Microsoft
  • Omid Kordestani, Executive Chairman, Twitter

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*Some more information about Breitbart News:
If you need to know more about what Breitbart News is about, this article on Forbes provides a good summary: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ellenkilloran/2016/11/14/steve-bannon-and-breitbart-news-why-everyone-but-the-alt-right-fears-trumps-top-adviser-pick/#2180cf52504f

Some recent news about companies, organisations and people taking action:

Also, see this petition related to pulling advertisments from Breitbart: https://actions.sumofus.org/a/amazon-stop-investing-in-hate

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** Some policies in place by companies being addressed by this petition:

And a discussion about content policies: https://medium.com/startup-grind/google-is-violating-its-own-policy-on-hate-speech-by-providing-ads-to-breitbart-afe06473390f#.x3ex8xw38



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