Email screwup reveals Facebook’s thoughts on Trump’s proposed Muslim registry

In the canon of corporate email screwups, this one’s pretty great: A Facebook spokesperson accidentally sent an email to a Buzzfeed reporter instead of the colleague they thought they were forwarding the email to, and in the email, called President-elect Donald Trump’s proposed Muslim registry a “straw man.”

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This is the first opinion on the matter from the tech giant, and it comes after days of refusing to comment on whether or not they’d help the president-elect with the technology to build his proposed registry.

The inadvertent email to Buzzfeed‘s Nitasha Tiku read:

Happy to talk to her off record about why this is attacking a straw man. Also I heard back from her that she may or may not write an additional piece depending on what response she gets from companies. So sounds like not making any stmt on record is the way to go.

In an emailed statement to Mashable regarding the story, a Facebook spokesperson said, “No one has asked us to build a Muslim registry, and of course we would not do so.”

While other companies—including Twitter, Google, GitHub, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Pandora, Giphy, and Slack—have publicly stated they wouldn’t assist in the creation of a registry if asked, Facebook has not publicly commented on the issue yet.

The idea of a Muslim registry, as well as severe restrictions on Muslim immigration, was a major part of Trump’s platform. Though he’s backpedaled on a total ban on Muslim immigration, he’s stuck by the registry idea since the election.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach told Reuters in mid-November that the Trump administration could resurrect the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, a registration system enacted under then-President George W. Bush in 2002, following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, and was abandoned in 2011.

Under NSEERS, people from countries deemed “higher risk[s]” and were required to undergo interrogations and fingerprinting on entering the United States. Some non-citizen male U.S. residents over the age of 16 from countries with active militant threats were required to register in person at government offices and periodically check in.

As for Facebook, the company’s next step will be watched with great interest given the role the platform played in the spread of fake news throughout the 2016 campaign. While Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has denied the platform’s role in the election’s fake news epidemic, COO Sheryl Sandberg acknowledged in a recent interview that the company is now working harder to prevent the spread of stories like the infamous “Pizzagate.”