To protest Facebook’s lack of action in response to the spread of hate, misinformation, and discrimination across their platforms, a growing number of advertisers are joining the #StopHateForProfit movement by suspending ad spend on Facebook-owned properties (Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp) for the month of July. In line with our values as an agency, we’re joining this movement and advising our clients to participate.
As a partner to leading progressive causes, we’ve always believed that there is no force more powerful than people taking collective action on the things they care about. We know that many organizations and campaigns would be at a huge disadvantage if they stopped advertising on Facebook, but we are in a position where we are able to participate in this boycott. A lack of action would be an injustice to ourselves, our clients, and worst of all, the millions of people who are subjected to racism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and countless other forms of hate and bigotry due to Facebook’s inaction and inadequacies.
What are some of the recent actions by Facebook that have gotten us to this point?
- During the recent wave of peaceful protests in response to police brutality and reform, Facebook allowed the proliferation of fake news and conspiracy theories. These stories, videos, and posts included calls for violence against protestors and supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement.
- Facebook continues to shield hate speech and other potentially dangerous conversations by promoting Groups as an alternative to their traditional newsfeed posts.
- CheckYourFact.com, a subsidiary of Tucker Carlson’s The Daily Caller, was invited to be a member of Facebook’s third-party fact-checking program.
- Facebook labeled Breitbart, an alt-right news outlet, as a trusted news source, putting the website on equal footing with The New York Times, CNN, and The Washington Post, among others.
While these are some of the more recent examples, Facebook has unfortunately had a long history of not stepping up in the face of hatred and discrimination, backtracking to fix their missteps. The platform recently was exposed for limiting ad targeting, which was found to be discriminatory, initially allowing Donald Trump to run ads that included Nazi symbolism, and finally changing their ad policy to disallow voter suppression.
We are joining this movement — led by the Anti-Defamation League, Color of Change, Common Sense Media, Free Press, the NAACP, and Sleeping Giants — to urge Facebook to adopt policies that allow for a safer and more transparent platform. We cannot allow Facebook to continue to profit by allowing hate and bigotry to run rampant across their properties.
There are really two ways to enact change at somewhere like Facebook — and both have to do with the bottom line. If the growing list of marketers who support this boycott continue to withhold dollars and drive negative press, Facebook will have to listen. And, if Facebook’s own employees are speaking out against the product and perpetuation of hatred, Facebook has to listen.
We know that Facebook and its platforms are a lifeline of revenue for countless nonprofits and grassroots movements. We know that many of these movements can’t afford to give up this line of communication to the audiences they wouldn’t have access to otherwise. We know that not everyone can afford to make this pledge, and we’re not passing criticism to those who fall into that bucket.
As marketers, we have a responsibility to invest in and utilize platforms that put people first and to protect and defend our colleagues, audiences, and partners.
But as individuals and activists, we also have a responsibility to hold others accountable, dismantle hatred and misinformation, and stand up for what is right. Unfortunately, Facebook has failed to do just that.
If you want to learn more about this movement, how we’re getting involved, or how you can take action, get it touch.