New Senate-commissioned reports show Russia specifically targeted African-Americans on social media during the 2016 Presidential election. Russian efforts included discouraging Blacks from going to the polls to vote, especially to vote for Hillary Clinton, and encouraging existing racial divisions.
Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, released the following statement in response to the reports:
“This report makes clear that racism and discrimination are national security threats to the United States. A hostile foreign power used American social media platforms to deliberately target and suppress the vote of African-Americans as part of a conspiracy to undermine our democratic processes. We not only need to hold such bad actors accountable – we also need to hold accountable the companies that allow such exploitation to occur.
“Congress needs to take action now to protect the right to vote for all Americans, including African-Americans, and to safeguard our democracy against interference and manipulation. Part of such action must include protection of civil rights and data privacy, in order to reduce the risk of exploitation of African-Americans’ Internet activity. The online profiling of African-Americans by major tech companies enables bad actors to unleash targeted voter suppression schemes.
“As Russia takes aim at African-American voters, we can’t ignore the fact that people of color remain the primary targets for voter suppression schemes right here on American soil. In setting its main target on African-Americans, Russia is taking a page out of the U.S. voter suppression playbook; by allowing voter suppression domestically, we send a dangerous message to bad actors such as Russia that Black votes don’t matter.”
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 55th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights
For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommittee.org