More and more companies are now pulling their paid ads from Facebook over the platform’s ineffectiveness in removing online hate speech.
Facebook makes around $70 billion a year in advertising revenue. Around a quarter of this comes from large corporations.
The campaign “Stop Hate for Profit”, which is run by Common Sense Media, Free Press, and U.S. civil rights groups Color of Change, Anti-Defamation League, and NAACP, says Facebook has repeatedly failed “to meaningfully address the vast proliferation of hate on its platforms.”
The group is now demanding a separate moderation process for hate speech, more transparency over how many incidents are reported, and to stop ad revenue for harmful content.
Facebook previously said it wouldn’t change any policies because of financial pressure. However, it announced last week that it’s considering blocking or hiding hate speech that could affect the results of the 2020 US election.
Now, a large and growing number of firms are pausing all paid advertising until the end of July as part of a boycott.
Starbucks says it’s removing all ads from Facebook, as well as other social networking sites, and is currently in discussion with its media partners and civil rights groups.
It said in a statement, “We believe in bringing communities together, both in person and online, and we stand against hate speech. We believe more must be done to create welcoming and inclusive online communities, and we believe both business leaders and policymakers need to come together to affect real change.”
Ben & Jerry’s said on 23rd June that it support the boycott, and “as of July 1st we will pause all paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram in the United States as part of the #StopHateForProfit campaign.”
“We call on Facebook, Inc. 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.”
Coca Cola will also be pausing social media advertising for a minimum of 30 days.
The company noted, “We will take this time to reassess our advertising standards and policies to determine whether revisions are needed internally, and what more we should expect of our social media partners to rid the platforms of hate, violence and inappropriate content.”
“We will let them know we expect greater accountability, action and transparency from them.”
Other companies that are taking part in the boycott include Adidas, Birchbox, Denny’s, Ford, Hershey’s, Honda, HP, Levi Strauss, Magnolia Pictures, Microsoft, Patreon, Pfizer, Puma, Upwork, Unilever, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote, “We believe there is a public interest in allowing a wider range of free expression in people’s posts than in paid ads. We already restrict certain types of content in ads that we allow in regular posts, but we want to do more to prohibit the kind of divisive and inflammatory language that has been used to sow discord.”
“So today we’re prohibiting a wider category of hateful content in ads. Specifically, we’re expanding our ads policy to prohibit claims that people from a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity, or immigration status are a threat to the physical safety, health, or survival of others.”