Numerous businesses are pausing their advertising campaigns on Facebook (FB) – and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook – to boycott the company’s policies around what content it moderates and how.
The campaign, called “Stop Hate for Profit,” and organized by the NAACP, Color for Change, the Anti-Defamation League, Sleeping Giants, Free Press, and Common Sense Media, already has some big names involved, including a large swath of the outdoor apparel industry and Yahoo Finance’s parent company Verizon (VZ).
“From the monetization of hate speech to discrimination in their algorithms to the proliferation of voter suppression to the silencing of Black voices, Facebook has refused to take responsibility for hate, bias, and discrimination growing on their platforms,” writes the Color for Change website.
By targeting advertisers, the groups hope to get Facebook to change how it responds to misinformation and threats, something Twitter has done by taking a stronger hand when it comes to misinformation and threats. The most salient example of this was when President Trump in May, when protests against the killing of George Floyd began across the U.S., posted on Twitter and Facebook: “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitter placed a public interest notice on the tweet for breaking its rules on the “glorification of violence.”
In a statement to various media outlets, Facebook has said that it respects brands' decisions and that it "remains focused" on removing hate speech and providing voting information. The company’s COO Sheryl Sandberg also wrote a post on the company’s website announcing commitments to support the Black community, though many of boycotting companies began after the post.
On June 26, Facebook announced a few changes: providing info about voting during the pandemic, additional steps to fight voter suppression, a higher standard for hateful content in ads, and the labeling of newsworthy content in ads that may otherwise violate policies.
Sleeping Giants, one of the organizers, has the full running list here.
Below are some of the biggest companies that are participating in the boycott so far and their statements.
Bloomberg reports Microsoft is pausing ads on Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram until the end of the year.
“The Clorox Company will stop advertising spending with Facebook through December.
As a people-centered company committed to our values, we feel compelled to take action against hate speech, which we believe will increase through the balance of the year. This creates an increasingly unhealthy environment for people and our purpose-driven brands.
We will maintain our planned level of advertising spending but shift to other media.
We will continue to monitor this situation and revisit our position as needed. In the meantime, we will evolve our standards and guidelines for progress for all platforms and publishers to reflect our rising expectations for greater responsibility as these channels continue to become a more important part of people’s lives.” —The Clorox Company
Adidas and Reebok
“We believe in bringing communities together, both in person and online, and we stand against hate speech. We believe more must be done to create welcoming and inclusive online communities, and we believe both business leaders and policy makers need to come together to affect real change.” — Starbucks statement to media
“There is no place for racism in the world and there is no place for racism on social media. The Coca-Cola Company will pause paid advertising on all social media platforms globally for at least 30 days. We will take this time to reassess our advertising policies to determine whether revisions are needed. We also expect greater accountability and transparency from our social media partners.” – James Quincey, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company
This statement came after Facebook announced some changes.
“Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society,” Unilever said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg “We will be monitoring ongoing and will revisit our current position if necessary.”
Some of the global conglomerate brands include Dove, Axe, Hellmans, Lipton, and many ice cream brands, including Ben & Jerry’s, an early boycotter.
“Our brand safety standards have not changed. We have strict content policies in place and have zero tolerance when they are breached, we take action. We're pausing our advertising until Facebook can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable and is consistent with what we've done with YouTube and other partners." — Verizon PR
The North Face
Ben & Jerry’s
Goodby Silverstein is an ad agency with clients such as BMW, PayPal, and Pepsi.
“Facebook’s data violations and failure to combat violent rhetoric have crossed the line, and Viber is taking relevant measures to cease ad spending, as well as remove product touchpoints, to protect its 1 billion users.” — Viber