Gender Justice Group: “Facebook Papers Prove What We Already Know”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, October 27, 2021
CONTACT: Anna Zuccaro |

Gender Justice Group: “Facebook Papers Prove What We Already Know”

UltraViolet’s active campaigns against Facebook urge the platform to stop spreading disinformation, allowing online harassment, promoting body image issues for women and girls

According to the Facebook Papers and testimony from former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen, CEO Mark Zuckerberg purposely avoids repairing or eliminating many of the harmful impacts that the company’s algorithm has on users.

In response, Shaunna Thomas, executive director of the national women’s advocacy organization UltraViolet, issued the following statement:

“The Facebook Papers provide extremely troubling details on just how harmful the platform is to our society.

“As suspected, Facebook knowingly spreads and profits from online gender-based disinformation and harassment, including making teenage girls insecure about their bodies on Instagram, among many of the company’s morally bankrupt tactics. The Facebook Papers prove what we already suspected, that their supposed mission of bringing people together and keeping in touch is quite literally the opposite behind closed doors.

“Every newsfeed, group, and advertisement are symptomatic of Facebook’s larger plan to make more users engage with the platform more frequently. This includes knowingly distributing lies and disinformation to millions of people, including many of those responsible for the deadly insurrection on January 6th.

“Facebook has blood on its hands, from helping to foster the anti-vaxxer movement and lies about COVID-19 to supporting conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. It’s time for company leadership to make serious changes, or for lawmakers to rein in these egregious abuses of power immediately.”

Earlier this year, Ultraviolet members submitted 4,686 comments to Facebook’s oversight board, urging the platform to permanently ban Donald Trump.

UltraViolet also cosigned a petition urging Facebook to abandon its plans to target young girls on Instagram.


In 2020, UltraViolet Action organized the first ever Women’s Disinformation Defense Project focused on preventing the spread of racist and sexist disinformation targeting women candidates and voters. The work included a comprehensive media guide specifying how the media can cover women politicians and people of color in politics.

Additionally, the group has targeted Facebook by demanding bans to sexual harassment, violence, and hate speech with:

  • An open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg, and Director of External Affairs Lindsay Elin demanding emergency action responding to threats of violence against election workers during the presidential election.

  • Taking out TV ads in the Bay Area demanding that Facebook Sheryl Sandberg “lean in” and stop the spread of misogyny and violence.

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