Facebook Bigwig Donated Millions to Black Lives Matter. Then The Company Censored Criticism of BLM’s Controversial Founder.

Social media giant censored negative stories about Patrisse Cullors, who spent lavishly on real estate

Dustin Moskovitz / Getty Images
April 18, 2021

Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz has poured over $5 million into a network of nonprofits run by Black Lives Matter leader Patrisse Cullors, according to financial disclosure records, raising questions about whether this relationship played a role in the company's decision to censor unflattering news articles about the activist last week.

The social media giant blocked its users from posting links to a New York Post story that revealed Cullors, a self-described Marxist, spent $3.2 million on high-end real estate as her Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation raked in millions in donations.

Facebook said the reporting violated its "privacy and personal information policy." The Post argued that the decision was "so arbitrary as to be laughable" and noted that the media routinely report on real estate purchases by other celebrities and political figures without facing social media censorship.

Several organizations founded by Cullors have been bankrolled by Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna, according to records reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon. Although Moskovitz left Facebook as an employee in 2008, he is still reported to be one of the top stakeholders in the company, with most of his $20 billion net worth coming from his estimated 2 percent holdings.

The Open Philanthropy fund and Open Philanthropy Project, Moskovitz's grant-making vehicles, contributed at least $5.6 million to groups founded by Cullors between 2017 and 2020. The donations include $2.8 million to Dignity and Power Now and more than $2.3 million to Reform L.A. Jails, which were both founded and chaired by Cullors. The Justice Teams Network, a group cofounded by Cullors, received $500,000.

The Open Philanthropy Project did not return a request for comment.

Cullors was paid $20,000 a month by Reform L.A. Jails in 2019, the Daily Caller reported earlier this month.

The National Legal and Policy Center, a watchdog group that has been monitoring Facebook's financial activities and Moskovitz's charitable records, criticized the company's decision to block reporting on Cullors.

"We think this, once again, proves freedom of speech is an option not a feature across the Facebook platform, where their corporate interests are placed above the interests of their users at every turn," said Peter Flaherty, chairman of the NLPC.

Cullors, who helped found the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation in 2013, came under fire from other leaders in the movement after her lavish real estate spending was revealed by the Post. The paper reported that she purchased a $1.4 million home near Malibu, a "custom ranch" in Georgia, and two other California properties worth a total of $3.2 million since 2016.

Hawk Newsome, the head of an unaffiliated group called Black Lives Matter Greater New York, told the Post that the revelations were "really sad because it makes people doubt the validity of the movement and overlook the fact that it's the people that carry this movement."

Neither Facebook nor Cullors responded to requests for comment.