Major advertisers boycott Facebook for flawed tackling racism and fake news

Major advertisers such as The North Face and Patagonia announce that they will no longer pay for Facebook ads because they believe the social network is taking too little action to tackle hate speech and the spread of fake news.

The companies are responding to the call of several American civil rights organizations such as the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and the Anti-Defamation League. They launched the #StopHateForProfit campaign on Wednesday, calling on advertisers to suspend their Facebook marketing campaign for July.

“Let us send a powerful message to Facebook: Your gains are never worth promoting hate, racism, anti-Semitism, and violence,” read the #StopHateForProfit campaign website.

“We are in”

“We are in,” The North Face tweeted Friday. A few hours later, the large American outdoor chain REI followed, and meanwhile, other brands, including Patagonia, joined the action.

In a statement, The North Face said it would stop advertising on the social network “as long as Facebook does not take measures to prevent racist, violent or hateful content and false information from circulating on the platform.”

Patagonia announced in a series of tweets on Sunday, stated that it would remove all ads from Facebook and Instagram with immediate effect “until at least the end of July, depending on meaningful measures taken by the social media giant,” the company tweeted.

“Time to draw the line”

Color of Change, one of the organizations behind the campaign, met with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier this month to address Facebook’s lack of action against President Trump’s inflammatory messages on the network.

“If you really think black lives matter, we think this is the time to draw a line and be prepared to withdraw your seven digits or how much you spend (on advertising, ed.)” Brandi Collins-Dexter, campaign director at Color of Change.

“Any company that supports them financially or otherwise supports Facebook … you are just as much the problem as the infrastructure that allows the marginalization of people with a complexion.”

“Respect for decision”

Carolyn Everson, vice president of Global Business Group Facebook, responded in a statement to CNN that the company respects the brands’ decision and “remains committed to the important task of removing hate speech and providing important election information. Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organizations are about how we can work together for charity.”

Facebook has been under fire for years because the platform is very popular for spreading fake news. Moreover, the fact that the social network did not intervene when President Trump recently distributed inflammatory messages via Facebook, while Twitter did restrict it, has also cost the network in recent weeks.

Facebook is the second largest digital advertising platform in the US after Google.

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