Facebook's Zuckerberg to Meet Activists, Won't Act on Ad Boycott

Andrew Cummings
July 4, 2020

Beyond bad PR, though, experts say the protest isn't likely to make a lasting dent in Facebook's ad revenue, in part because plenty of other advertisers can step in. The company said bold steps are needed to combat hate speech and misinformation. Ford told the Detroit Free Press such action was "core to Ford's aspiration to be the world's most inclusive and diverse company", and it too is listed on the Stop Hate for Profit campaign's website.

Zuckerberg said: "We're not going to change our policies or approach on anything because of a threat to a small percent of our revenue, or to any percent of our revenue".

Even Facebook's top 100 advertisers together only accounted for around 6 per cent of its annual revenue a year ago, according to Pathmatics.

On Wednesday, more than 500 companies officially kicked off an advertising boycott meant to pressure Facebook into taking a stronger stand against hate speech.

The Facebook executives will meet with Anti-Defamation League Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Greenblatt, Color of Change President Rashad Robinson and Derrick Johnson, chief executive officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a Facebook spokesman confirmed. "We will suspend advertising on Facebook and Instagram globally in July to pressure them to adopt stricter policies to help curb systemic racism, starting with removing unsafe hate speech and misinformation". Rather, it's pulling back from Facebook for its own reasons related to hate speech.

The coalition has pressed Facebook to take a harder line on hate speech, arguing that white supremacists, Holocaust deniers, violent conspiracy theorists and anti-government militias have been allowed to post, form groups and recruit members on Facebook platforms. I want to be unambiguous: Facebook does not profit from hate. Shares of Facebook, which closed at $232.62 on Friday, June 26, fell to $209.50 on Monday before rising to $233.42 on Thursday.

Clegg, however, offered few concessions, and instead repeated Zuckerberg's frequent talking point that "the only way to hold the powerful to account is ultimately through the ballot box".

On Wednesday, Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice-president of global affairs and communications, tried to reassure businesses that Facebook does not benefit from hate and said the company has every incentive to remove hate speech from its service.

Reporter John Sowell has worked for the Statesman since 2013.

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