Thursday, June 25, 2020

New America's OTI Will No Longer Accept Facebook Funding

Here is a statement from New America's Open Technology Institute (OTI):

Last week, leadership at Facebook refused to take down a post from President Donald Trump threatening that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" in reference to nationwide demonstrations against police brutality, as well as other posts from the President that promoted disinformation about mail-in voting. Civil rights groups sharply criticized the policy, and hundreds of Facebook employees staged a “virtual walkout” in protest of the company’s decision. Amid this outcry, Facebook’s leadership dismissed civil rights groups’ concerns and reiterated the company’s policy of non-intervention for harmful posts by public figures that would otherwise violate the platform's policies.
In reflection on Facebook’s years of struggles to implement content moderation policies that do not reinforce systems of racism, and in light of the failure of the company’s leaders to respond meaningfully to concerns raised against the backdrop of the past weeks’ deep turmoil, the Open Technology Institute has decided that, as of today, it will decline further funding from Facebook.

Recent New America donors and partners include: New York City Economic Development Corporation, Rockefeller Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, US State Department, Aphorism Foundation, Eric and Wendy Schmidt, Omidyar Network, Skoll Global Threats Fund, Siemens Foundation, Ballmer Group, Reid Hoffman Foundation, Pivotal Ventures LLC, JPMorgan Chase, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Florida International University, and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Facebook funds and partners with a number of other think tanks, including Atlantic Council, Center for American Progress (CAP), Third Way, and American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

Here is a 2018 Think Tank Watch post entitled "Dark Clouds Linger Over Think Tank New America."  Here is another post from 2017, when a scholar from New America was fired for criticizing Google, one of its major donors.