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21 Dec 2018

Leading civil rights group calls for Congressional action against Russian efforts to exploit African-American vote

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December 21, 2018 Category: Stateside Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: Kristen Clarke

New Senate-commissioned reports show Russia specifically targeted African-Americans on social media during the 2016 Presidential election

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, released the following statement in response to the release of new Senate-commissioned reports showing Russia specifically targeted African-Americans on social media during the 2016 Presidential election:

“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.”

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