Facebook protesters
"Wake Up Zuck" protest outside Mark Zuckerberg's house in the Mission. Photo by Loi Almeron.

On Monday morning around 10 a.m., about 50 protesters gathered outside of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s home in the Mission District to protest the social media giant’s use of personal data and refusal to regulate misleading political advertisements.

“We’re sick and tired of waiting for the government to regulate Facebook,” said Tracy Rosenberg, the executive director of Media Alliance and one of the protest’s organizers. “You’re profiting off of us — you’re selling our information.”

The protesters chanted “Wake up Zuck!” and “fake news, real hate” and carried signs that said “Stop the Lies, Protect our democracy” and “break up Facebook.” In colorful chalk on the sidewalk in  front of the house, demonstrators wrote phrases like: “Facebook is a Russian asset;” “don’t sell my private data;” and “history will write your epitaph as the man who broke democracy.”

In November, Twitter outright banned political ads, and Google said it would limit the targeting of political ads on its search engine and on its video streaming platform YouTube. Facebook has resisted such changes in policy in the face of criticism.

Zuckerberg in December told CBS This Morning that, “in a democracy,” people should “make their own judgments” about what politicians say. “I don’t think a private company should be censoring politicians or news,” he said.

But protesters say that very mindset is destroying democracy, rather than upholding its values.

“We, like many others and the organizations that put this rally together, feel that Facebook is a dramatic threat to our democratic systems around the world,” said Ted Lewis, an activist with Global Exchange, an organization that advocates for human rights and alternatives to capitalism. “Facebook needs to take responsibility for what they’re doing — they need to get the lies off of their platform.”

Lewis said, specifically, Facebook’s hands-off policy around political advertising is especially troubling. “Political advertising could contain the most blatant falsehood and they refuse to do anything about it,” Lewis said.

Zuckerberg is likely not spending his President’s Day holiday inside of his Mission District manse — as he has some 10 places to call “home” and mainly resides in Palo Alto.

Other protesters bemoaned Facebook’s laissez-faire approach to the spread of misinformation, especially as the 2020 presidential election nears. “You can say anything you want,” said Erin Fisher, an activist with Campaign to Regulate and Break Up Big Tech. “Facebook is the most important. They’re monetizing propaganda.”

“This is one of the pillars of the fight in 2020,” Fisher said, referring to the upcoming November election.

By 11 a.m., protesters had largely dispersed and a few police officers supervised the scene.

Photo by Loi Almeron.
Tracy Rosenberg (left), the executive director of Media Alliance, holds a bullhorn.

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Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

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  1. Facebook is run by a bunch of anti-Free Speech Nazis who would delete any post that has even the slightest indication of prejudice or divergence to their way of thinking.

  2. The usual half-employed Communists protesting on a Monday morning, and preaching (go figure) censorship to avoid getting decimated in the arena of free thought (as per usual).

    1. New Jersey Chris Christie; George Norcross; Donald Norcross; Steve Ayscue; Mayir David Mayer and Corey Booker invested millions of dollars. With Zuckenberg to gain personal information on candidates and the. Use trolls they hired named Joseph Crincoli to create fake. Festive Facebook sites to defame candidates that ran against them. It is a dirty dark scheme that should be investigated. Google uses its algorithm to allow these negative manufactured stories of the fake Facebook sites and other compromised media i.e. NJ.com and courier post to link these negative stories to the fake Facebook site to keep pages parked at top of google. It’s a sinister game t defame innocent people and defame their reputation and good name
      From running for office. NJ is highly corrupt under Christie; Norcross; Sweeney way; Ayscue: Crincoli. And Mayer. These men are criminals

      1. In 2010, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million toward creating an education foundation in Newark, New Jersey. The goal was to help the city’s struggling school system. In an interview with Business Insider, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said that the foundation did not use the money wisely.May 12, 2018

        Money was used to illegally provide personal information on candidates and used manufactured stories to insert in fake Facebook accounts to defame candidates.

        Facebook. Google and the elected officials and bias machine are running a criminal cyber ring and selling our information to cyber brokers outside of the USA that has been compromised using our private intel that was stolen and hacked by facebooks mark zuckerberg and his trolling cells


  3. Facebook would be more useful to everyone as an objective platform, where people could post what they wished as long as the posts avoided indecency or violence. Otherwise, Facebook becomes a mouthpiece for one ideology or another. Censorship is never good. By the way, this nation is a Republic, not a Democracy.

    1. Every time somebody makes this moronic argument “we are a Republic, not a Democracy”, somewhere out there a social studies teacher bangs his/her head against the wall.
      We are both. We are a Republic, and we are a Democracy. Why is that concept so difficult for people to understand??

  4. “in a democracy,” people should “make their own judgments” about what politicians say… Put another way, “in a theater, people should make their own judgments about whether there’s a FIRE! or not”.

    1. Fakebook elected Trumputin in 2016 through psychographic manipulation. Thanks to these protesters trying to prevent it again!

      1. Lying is just another way of bullying!
        If I call someone honey on FB, I get suspended from FB. What’s the difference? Lying about someone is BULLYING!