50 for Tibet: Celebrating One Mountain Culture to Preserve Another.
 


News & Blog: Team Blogs

02/04/15

Facebook was too busy to meet ICT… even though they had time to welcome China’s internet censors

BY: Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign For Tibet

As promised, our petition to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was delivered yesterday at their Headquarters in Menlo Park, California. Over 20,000 people, from no less than 130 countries (!) signed it.

At ICT we are very proud and inspired to be part of a global movement of citizens who are concerned both about the well being of the Tibetan people, and the status and future of civil liberties in our democratic countries.

I would like to personally thank each of you who signed and shared this initiative with friends and family. I am firmly convinced that by uniting individuals of good will we can make change happen in this world, and ICT is fully committed to continuing to work hand in hand with you. We will reach out to you asking for your involvement and engagement with our work, and I really hope that you will continue to respond positively and take action.

To deliver the petition, I took the time to fly to San Francisco and joined our partners at Care2 to go to Facebook Headquarters. Before arriving I wrote to Debbie Frost, the VP for International Communications and Public Affairs who had been kind enough to respond to our petition on my blog, requesting a meeting to deliver the petitions and to further discuss this very important issue.

I never received a response, but I thought that since Zuckerberg stated that freedom of expression is very important to Facebook, they would find someone to receive a petition signed by over 20,000 people – many of them Facebook users – who are concerned about their policy regarding the deletion of videos of Tibetans’ self-immolations.

I was wrong. When the receptionist reached out to her office it turned out that she too busy to meet us and nobody else was available. We were instructed to leave the petition with the security guards and leave, which we did.

I am neither disappointed nor surprised; I am just sorry for Facebook, a company that is playing an important role for the future of freedom of expression in the world. They found time to give a warm welcome to the head of China’s censorship machine, but did not find the time to listen to the concerns of over twenty thousand citizens.

As a Member of Parliament and of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, I have met with Presidents, Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers, Members of Parliament and business leaders all over the world. When someone does not respond to a request for a meeting on an issue of public concerns it means either that there is a lot of confusion on how to respond, or there is something to hide.

In any case, rest assured that we will continue to watch and monitor closely the status of freedom of expression on Facebook.

by John at 12:50:53 pm