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Facebook faces boycott, calls for leadership change from civil rights groups

Facebook Inc. is facing criticisms from a number of groups following recent reports that revealed the social media platform had more Russian-generated content targeted to influence U.S. voters than previously known.

A collection of 31 civil rights groups is seeking for CEO Mark Zuckerberg to step down as the company's chairman and for COO Sheryl Sandberg to leave the board entirely, Bloomberg News reported, citing a letter the groups have co-signed.

The groups, which include Muslim Advocates, MoveOn, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National LGBTQ Task Force, are also calling for the removal of Joel Kaplan and Kevin Martin as the company's policy executives and the appointment of new directors.

In the letter, the groups said Facebook has partaken a role in "generating bigotry and hatred towards vulnerable communities and civil rights organizations," the report quoted.

Separately, a U.S. civil rights organization, the NAACP, is calling for its members to boycott Facebook and Instagram for a week, in response to the recent report commissioned by the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, according to a separate Bloomberg News report. The report showed that the Russian-backed operations targeted African-American communities.

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said "the utilization of Facebook for propaganda promoting disingenuous portrayals of the African American community is reprehensible," the report quoted, citing the executive's statement.

The NAACP is also requesting for Congress to further investigate Facebook's role in Russian hacking and has returned a donation from the social media giant.

A Facebook spokesperson earlier said the company continues "to fully cooperate" with congressional investigations and that the reports show the need for the government to investigate the influence campaigns on its platform in the 2016 election cycle.