On June 17th, a coalition of advocacy groups including the Anti-Defamation League and NAACP launched their newest campaign, Stop Hate for Profit, in an effort to respond to Facebook’s failure to handle the spread of disinformation and hate speech. Since announcing Stop Hate for Profit, the campaign has garnered significant momentum, with over 150 major marketers planning to pull their ads from the platform until demands are met. Among those demands that have been outlined by key players in the campaign are increased accountability, decency, and support from Facebook.
Social media giants, including Facebook, are known to make a majority of their profits from the ads that run on these platforms. According to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook has the “second-largest share of the U.S. digital ad market” and approximately 99% of Facebook’s $70 billion is the product of advertising.
In spite of the power these platforms yield, however, Facebook has been notable in its failure to condemn the endemic dissemination of hate speech and lies. Under the leadership of Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook has resisted calls to fact-check political speech by figures including President Trump and has not been generous in what it deems hate speech. This has had particularly far-reaching impacts amid current events like the George Floyd protests, the coronavirus pandemic, and the 2020 election in the United States.
In detailing their grievances with the company’s manner of handling disinformation and hate speech, Stop Hate for Profit’s initial call to action listed Facebook’s tolerance for posts that incited violence against peaceful protesters in recent protests against police brutality; Facebook’s labeling of sources like Breitbart News and The Daily Caller as reliable and trusted sources; and Facebook’s failure to acknowledge voter suppression efforts.
Since launching the Stop Hate for Profit campaign in mid-June, many of the highest-profile advertisers on Facebook have agreed to join the boycott. As of Monday, companies including Microsoft, Best Buy, Verizon, Coca-Cola, and Unilever, among many others, had announced their intention to suspend advertising.
Many participating companies have released statements explaining their decision to join the boycott. A spokesperson for Coca-Cola said the company will take time to determine “what more we should expect of our social media partners to rid the platforms of hate, violence, and inappropriate content.” Verizon similarly issued a statement expressing its expectation that boycott efforts would lead Facebook to “create an acceptable solution.”
Stop Hate for Profit stated that their purpose in encouraging major marketers to temporarily suspend advertising on Facebook is to “force Mark Zuckerberg to address the effect that Facebook has had on our society.” The campaign also acknowledged that while serious action would likely take longer than a month to address and implement, they intended to “provide clear steps that Facebook could take immediately that would result in real progress.”
Sources: Anti-Defamation League 6/17/2020; New York Times 6/29/2020; Forbes 6/29/2020; The Wall Street Journal 6/29/2020; CNN Business 6/29/2020