Multiple large companies have had it with Facebook’s hands-off attitude.
Over the last week, several prolific companies, including Patagonia, The North Face, REI, and most recently, Ben & Jerry’s have pledged their support to Stop Hate for Profit, a campaign that aims to hold social media platform Facebook responsible for its large quantity of unregulated hateful and racist content. As a part of the campaign, all involved companies have vowed to halt all advertising on Facebook for the entire month of July, or at least until Facebook promises to adopt stricter content policies.
Facebook brings in approximately $70 billion in advertising revenue annually, but in the words of the campaign, this profit occurs while Facebook is “amplifying the messages of white supremacists” and “permitting incitement to violence.”
“We have long seen how Facebook has allowed some of the worst elements of society into our homes and our lives,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League. “Our organizations have tried individually and collectively to push Facebook to make their platforms safer, but they have repeatedly failed to take meaningful action. We hope this campaign finally shows Facebook how much their users and their advertisers want them to make serious changes for the better.”
Stop Hate for Profit is the latest attempt at convincing Facebook to crack down on toxic content, an argument that has been going on for years. The campaign has cited numerous shortcomings on Facebook’s part to rein in misinformation and hate speech, including labeling controversial far-right news site Breitbart as a “Trusted Source,” housing discriminatory communities and groups, and failing to remove posts denying the existence of the Holocaust. On the heels of Twitter’s recent flagging of false statements from President Donald Trump, Facebook has also faced increased scrutiny to monitor potentially dangerous language and misinformation from the President.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly refused to regulate toxic posts, both from the President and elsewhere, continually opting for a more hands-off approach. Civil rights leaders, researchers, and even Facebook employees have tried to convince him otherwise, but so far, have been unsuccessful.