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Companies call on Facebook to #StopHateforProfit

29 June 2020 at 5:30 pm
Luke Michael
Starbucks, Ben & Jerry's and Patagonia are among the companies boycotting Facebook

Luke Michael | 29 June 2020 at 5:30 pm


Companies call on Facebook to #StopHateforProfit
29 June 2020 at 5:30 pm

Starbucks, Ben & Jerry’s and Patagonia are among the companies boycotting Facebook

 A growing number of companies have vowed to boycott Facebook advertising in July to protest the social media giant’s handling of hate speech on its platform.

The #StopHateforProfit campaign was launched in response to Facebook’s “repeated failure to meaningfully address the vast proliferation of hate” on its website.

Advocates say Facebook has silenced Black users for calling out racism, failed to remove Holocaust denial posts, and made Breitbart News a “trusted news source” despite its links to white nationalists and neo-Nazis.

This campaign is calling on companies to pause advertising on Facebook during July, in order to pressure the social media giant to stop generating ad revenue from hateful content, better support people who are racially targeted, and boost safety for private groups on the platform.

A large number of companies have already committed to the campaign, including Starbucks, Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, The North Face, Coca-Cola, Hershey’s and Honda.

Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP (which is leading the campaign), said Facebook has been unwilling to take significant action to remove political propaganda.

“It is clear that Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, are no longer simply negligent, but in fact, complacent in the spread of misinformation, despite the irreversible damage to our democracy,” Johnson said.

“While we recognise the value that Facebook provides in connecting people of colour with one another, we call into question a platform that profits from the suppression of Black votes or Black voices.”      

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), another organisation leading the campaign, did a survey last year that found Facebook was the social media platform where Americans experienced the most hate and harassment. 

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said Facebook has allowed “some of the worst elements of society” to affect people’s lives.

“Our organisations have tried individually and collectively to push Facebook to make their platforms safer, but they have repeatedly failed to take meaningful action,” Greenblatt said.

“We hope this campaign finally shows Facebook how much their users and their advertisers want them to make serious changes for the better.”

Participating companies have made it known that the boycott could extend longer if action isn’t taken.

James Quincey, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, said there was no place for racism on social media. 

“The Coca-Cola Company will pause paid advertising on all social media platforms globally for at least 30 days,” Quincey said.

“We will take this time to reassess our advertising policies to determine whether revisions are needed. We also expect greater accountability and transparency from our social media partners.”

In a statement, Ben & Jerry’s called for Facebook to take stronger action to prevent it “being used to divide our nation, suppress voters, foment and fan the flames of racism and violence, and undermine our democracy”.

“We call on [Facebook] to take the clear and unequivocal actions called for by the campaign to stop its platform from being used to spread and amplify racism and hate,” the statement said.

Facebook has already responded to the campaign. 

Carolyn Everson, vice president of Facebook’s global business group, said the company accepted the actions of the corporate sector.

“We deeply respect any brand’s decision and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information,” Everson said. 

“Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organisations are about how, together, we can be a force for good.”

Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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