Big Brands Join Facebook Advertising Boycott

More brands have joined the movement. Over 900 advertisers have stopped advertising through Facebook during July as part of the #StopHateForProfit movement. “Hundreds of businesses are standing in solidarity with our most deeply held American values of freedom, equality and justice and are pausing advertising on Facebook’s services. Join us and advocate for positive change.” According to the movement, Facebook has not acted against users posting content that spreads hate and disinformation, although it has the power to do so if it wanted to. The boycott includes other platforms that are owned by Facebook, including Instagram and WhatsApp.

Stop Hate for Profit Campaign

Some big companies such as Adidas, Coca-Cola, Honda, Starbucks, and Hershey’s have joined the boycott. The movement aims to financially impact Facebook until it considers implementing certain recommendations to meet with what is being advertised and published across it’s platform.

The Boycott Recommendations for Facebook to implement:

 1. Accountability

  • To establish and empower permanent civil rights infrastructure including the C-suite level executive with civil rights expertise to evaluate products and policies for hate, discrimination, and bias. 
  • Submit to regular, third party, independent audits of identity-based hate and misinformation with summary results published on a publicly accessible website. We simply can no longer trust Facebook’s own claims on what they are or are not doing. A “transparency report” is only good if the author is independent and not related to the said company.
  • Provide audit of and refund to advertisers whose ads were shown next to content that was later removed for violations of terms of service. That is not what most advertisers pay for, and they shouldn’t have to.

 2. Decency

  • For Facebook to find and remove public and private groups focused on white supremacy, militia, antisemitism, violent conspiracies, Holocaust denialism, vaccine misinformation, and climate denialism. 
  • Adopting common-sense changes to their policies that will help stem radicalisation and hate on the platform.
  • Stop recommending or otherwise amplifying groups or content from groups associated with hate, misinformation or conspiracies to other Facebook users.  
  • Create an internal mechanism to automatically flag hateful content in private groups for human review. Private groups are not small gatherings of friends – but can be hundreds of thousands of people.
  • Ensure accuracy in political and voting matters by eliminating the politician exemption; removing misinformation related to voting; and prohibiting calls to violence by politicians in any format. Given the importance of political and voting matters for society, Facebook’s carving out an exception in this area is especially dangerous.

 3. Support

  • For Facebook to create expert teams to review submissions of identity-based hate and harassment. 42% of daily users have experienced harassment on the platform, and much of this harassment is based on the individual’s identity. Facebook needs to ensure that their teams understand the different types of harassment faced by different groups in order to adjudicate claims.
  • Enable individuals facing severe hate and harassment to connect with a live Facebook employee. In no other sector does a company not have a way for victims of their product to seek help.

 

The movement seeks to make a start with Facebook understanding the society they are providing a platform to and transform it into a platform that does good. With Facebook’s vast resources it is time for action now, and that is what the movement is seeking to achieve. 

What this means for Facebook

What is the impact for Facebook due to this boycott? While Facebook is no stranger to controversy around their content policies, election drama, and outright ineptitude at enforcing their own rules, this is probably the largest coordinated effort to date. In the face of intensifying public pressure, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a statement vowing to make a number of policy and practical changes on the platform. The response so far includes banning content designed to mislead/suppress voters, prohibiting content that claims people from certain ethnicities and sexual orientations are a threat, and removing content that may lead to violence.

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