For years the company has failed to adequately curb the spread of hate and dangerous disinformation on its platform. These issues have only intensified with the coronavirus pandemic and the uprisings for Black lives. People are dying, lives are being threatened and it seems like the corporate world may finally be done with Facebook’s excuses.
Facebook makes 99% of its revenue off of ads, which is why we, alongside our allies at ADL, Color Of Change, Common Sense Media, LULAC, Mozilla, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, the NAACP and Sleeping Giants, launched a campaign to hit Facebook where it hurts: its advertising revenue.
#StopHateForProfit is a call for advertisers to divest from Facebook by stopping all ad buys for the month of July. And the number of companies signing up is growing by the day.
So far, more than 1,000 advertisers — including Adidas, Ben & Jerry’s, Coca-Cola, Dunkin Donuts, Ford, Honda, Levi Strauss, North Face, Patagonia, PepsiCo, Reebok, Starbucks, Target, Unilever and Verizon — have signed on to the boycott.
During his statement, Zuckerberg made an attempt to patch the growing hole in the side of his company’s bank account, but the updated policies represent the bare minimum and go nowhere near far enough to address hate on its platform.
Zuckerberg has yet to figure out that being on the right side of civil rights is good for business. During a July 7 call with four boycott leaders — including Free Press’ Jessica J. Gonzalez — Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives treated the meeting as little more than a PR exercise.
“#StopHateForProfit didn’t hear anything to convince us that Zuckerberg and his colleagues are taking action,” Gonzalez said. “Instead of committing to a timeline to root out hate and disinformation on Facebook, the company’s leaders delivered the same old talking points to try to placate us without meeting our demands.”
Free Press has been calling on Facebook to ban white supremacists and stop hateful activities on its platform for years. We’ve even given the company a roadmap for how to do it — in 2018, we co-founded the Change the Terms coalition and released a set of model policies for tech companies to adopt to stop the proliferation of hate on their platforms.
Last year, we published an investigative report, Facebook vs. Hate, that outlines major problems on the platform. We participated in a 2019 civil-rights town hall in Atlanta, where we directly addressed Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and other company leaders and urged them to ensure that people of color, immigrants and other marginalized communities can be safe, full and equal participants on the platform. And just last month, we held a virtual “Stakeholders Meeting” to call Facebook out on its failures.
But Facebook has just kept running in the wrong direction.
Meanwhile, white-supremacist groups and so-called “accelerationist” groups are recruiting and fundraising for their horrific causes on the platform by exploiting the coronavirus pandemic and the protests against ongoing police violence and executions of Black people like George Floyd, Elijah McClain and Breonna Taylor.
On top of all this, Facebook is profiting off the Trump campaign, which spent over $20 million on Facebook ads in 2019 alone. It also refuses to take any action whatsoever against incendiary posts from the president’s account, despite the fact that it suspended an account that reposted the president’s content.
We’ve been sounding these alarms for a long time. But in June, the tides started to turn in the other direction.
Facebook employees are getting fed up with Zuckerberg’s inaction — with a handful publicly resigning over the company’s handling of Trump’s calls for violence via the platform — and every day there’s another headline touting yet another failure of Facebook to enforce its policies and stop hate from proliferating.
The cracks are showing. Facebook users have had enough. Facebook employees have had enough. And now more and more of its advertisers have too.
Do you work for a company that advertises on Facebook? Do you want to join this boycott? Reach out today.