By Peter Maiden
The #StopHateForProfit campaign is calling for a boycott of paid Facebook advertising. The boycott got underway in mid-June and will extend at least until the end of July. The central demand is that Facebook change its laissez-faire policy towards hate speech. Starbucks, CVS, Levi Strauss, Lego, and hundreds of other advertisers have joined the boycott. Advertising revenue is 98% of Facebook’s annual revenue of $70.7 billion. Facebook has about eight million advertisers, mostly small businesses.
The boycott stems from the Black Lives Matter movement to protest the killing of George Floyd. Twitter cautioned users about a tweet from President Donald Trump saying, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Facebook, however, will not put content from politicians in check. The #StopHateForProfit campaign insists violent and racist speech on Facebook be banned.
The boycott is being led by the Anti-Defamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Color of Change and other groups. On Tuesday there was a virtual meeting between Facebook and advertisers, and Mark Zuckerberg attended. “He discussed the importance of freedom of speech and stressed his company would not bow to pressure on its revenue,” the New York Times reported.
CNN reports that activists demand Facebook hire a top-level “executive with ‘deep’ civil rights experience to assess products and policies for discrimination, bias and hate.” They also call for Facebook to “pledge to do regular, independent audits of hate and misinformation; remove public and private groups focused on hate or violent conspiracies and stop the recommendation and reach of such groups; and give all moderators anti-bias and hate-related training in the next 90 days.”
The Community Alliance has been advertising on Facebook to promote our online presence on social media, but when we learned of the boycott, we stopped all advertising with them. We have joined the #StopHateForProfit boycott, and hope Facebook has more solutions to offer than the spin Zuckerberg has reacted with so far.
Peter Maiden is the Photo Editor of Community Alliance.