Roy Austin Jr., Former Obama Administration Official, Joins Facebook as Vice President of Civil Rights

Roy Austin Jr. has been named Facebook’s vice president of civil rights, a new position within the company with the mandate to oversee its accountability on racial hatred and discrimination on its platform. (Facebook)

Social media behemoth Facebook announced Monday it has created a new executive role at the company and that it will be filled by a veteran of the Obama administration.

Roy Austin Jr. has been named vice president of civil rights with the mandate to oversee Facebook’s accountability on racial hatred and discrimination on its platform. He’s slated to start Jan. 19.

Naming Austin to the position comes six months after a scathing independent audit found that the company had made “painful decisions [not to control content] with real world consequences that are serious setbacks for civil rights.”

The auditors had several recommendations, such as calling on Facebook to do more to rein in hateful speech on its platform, and stricter penalties for users who post items that violate company standards.

The auditors also advised Facebook to create a position to lead the company’s efforts on civil rights, even after acknowledging the company had taken several positive steps in that direction. Those included barring advertisers from using tools that target housing, employment and credit ads at individuals based on gender, age or ZIP code.

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