Today, a mile from Development Seed’s Washington DC office, Donald Trump incited a mob of extremists to storm the U.S. Capitol in order to prevent lawmakers from certifying the results of the most secure election in U.S. history. It was a naked attack on American democracy and the voice of millions of voters.
Development Seed joins the voices calling for accountability for Donald Trump and his enablers. President Trump should be removed from office either by the 25th Amendment or impeachment. As technologists, we are concerned about the role our technology community has played in enabling massive and systematic disinformation, radicalization, and incitement.
Development Seed stands for democracy, human rights, justice, and dignity. We are proud of our work in the United States and around the world to build better democracies, more accessible elections, and an informed electorate. As technologists and engineers, we have devoted ourselves to employing data, technology, and science for the good of society.
Tech companies, particularly social media, must do more to prevent their tools from empowering those who advance hate, violence, or who actively work to undermine democracy. Tech companies wield great power. System design choices determine when this power can be abused to sow disinformation and stoke hate. Technologists have an ethical responsibility to an open and just society that supersedes responsibilities to users or to company shareholders.
Today’s events are also a clear reminder of how far we still must go to build a just, multi-racial democracy where all citizens are equal before the law. In June, many tech companies made bold statements about their commitment to racial justice. Now is a time to show up. For one, stop funding efforts to systematically diminish the voices of people of color.
Finally, DC needs Statehood now. Denying DC Statehood undermines our ability to protect our citizens from radical domestic militias. It disenfranchises 700,000 citizens, disproportionately affecting people of color.