Facebook ad boycott campaign to go global, organizers say

Andrew Cummings
June 29, 2020

Meanwhile, shares of Facebook tanked 8.3 per cent on Friday, evaporating $56bn from the company's market value and about $7.2 bn off of Zuckerberg's personal net worth, Bloomberg reported. Starbucks said Sunday it would pause advertising on all social media platforms while it works with civil rights organizations to "stop the spread of hate speech". "We will be monitoring ongoing and will revisit our current position if necessary".

As the #StopHateForProfit campaign grew, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledged some changes on Friday in a post on the website.

The brands boycotting the platform includes big spenders like Unilever, Coca-cola and Verizon, as well as some other smaller companies like Patagonia, REI, Lending Club and The North Face, according to a running list from Sleeping Giants.

Unilever, the parent company to brands including Lipton tea and Ben and Jerry's ice cream, said it would stop advertising on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in the USA until the end of 2020 due to the "polarized election period".

Facebook has been criticised for allowing President Donald Trump to make posts attacking Black Lives Matter protests, including a post saying: "When the looting starts, the shooting starts". He also vowed to fight potential voter suppression, and to take down posts by politicians and government officials if the company deems them to be an incitement to violence. Starbucks also confirmed that it will continue posting on social media, but will refrain from paid promotions.

According to Steyer, Common Sense Media and its fellow social justice warriors from the Anti-Defamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Color of Change and others are showing their frustration over Facebook's alleged failure to address hate speech and misinformation online.

Zuckerberg said there will be no exceptions to these policies.

This change in policy comes after a weeklong tussle with advertisers with almost 100 brands resolving to pull their ads from Facebook for the month of July or longer, as part of the #StopHateForProfit movement. It has made a decision to also remove content - even from a politician - if it determines that it incites violence or suppresses voting. "There is no newsworthy exemptions to content that incites violence or suppresses voting".

"Today we're prohibiting a wider category of hateful content in ads", wrote Zuckerberg. We have strict content policies in place and have zero tolerance.

"We are also expanding our policies to better protect immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from ads suggesting these groups are inferior or expressing contempt, dismissal or disgust directed at them", he added.

Zuckerberg also defended his company's record on removing hate speech, which he said had increased from 82.6% to 86% in the past year.

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