An advertising boycott of Facebook called for by top civil rights groups continues to gather momentum with over a dozen big-name companies announcing they will not work with the tech giant until “meaningful action” is taken to address misinformation and hate speech.
Civil rights groups, including the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League, launched the #StopHateForProfit campaign on June 17, pressuring large companies to halt advertising with a platform they say doesn’t stop “bad actors using the platform to do harm” at least through the month of July.
After being outspoken throughout the Black Lives Matter protests, Ben & Jerry’s became the latest major company to join the boycott, pulling Facebook and Instagram advertising until Facebook takes the “clear and unequivocal actions called for by the campaign to stop its platform from being used to spread and amplify racism and hate.”
Following the Monday announcement that web browsing company Mozilla was on board, clothing chain Eddie Bauer and film distributor Magnolia Pictures joined the boycott Tuesday, the same day Facebook gave an “upbeat” presentation to advertisers, according to The New York Times.
North Face was the first big brand to join the boycott, announcing Friday that it would halt all U.S. paid advertising with Facebook and Instagram, closely followed by fellow outdoor apparel stores REI and Patagonia, and freelancing platform Upwork.
Shipping company Local Postal, password manager Dashlane and outwear company Arc’teryx have also joined the boycott, in addition to a number of smaller brands that have pledged their allegiance on social media, including outsourcing service Higher Ring; and online therapy startup, Talkspace, withdrew from a six-figure content partnership deal with Facebook earlier this month.
“For too long, Facebook has failed to take sufficient steps to stop the spread of hateful lies and dangerous propaganda on its platform,” Patagonia wrote in its statement. “From secure elections to a global pandemic to racial justice, the stakes are too high to sit back and let the company continue to be complicit in spreading disinformation and fomenting fear and hatred.”
Facebook generated $69.7 billion from advertising last year, trailing Google as the second-largest digital marketer.
Facebook has received criticism from civil rights leaders, employees and more for its handling of misinformation, intensified by weeks of anti-racism protests across the world. Calls for change began after Facebook refused to fact check a series of Trump’s tweets, including one from early on in the George Floyd protests that warned “looting” would lead to “shooting,” with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg making clear his stance that social media companies should not be “arbiters of truth.” The #StopHateForProfit campaign website accuses Facebook of facilitating the encouragement of violence, voter suppression and the spread of fake news. “Let’s send Facebook a powerful message: Your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence,” the website reads.