Mark Zuckerberg just got zucc’d. After years of allowing hate speech to proliferate on Facebook unchecked, advertisers are finally taking a stand. Leaving the social media platform struggling.
It all kicked off on Friday, when one of the world’s biggest advertisers ‘Unilever’ announced it was joining the Stop Hate For Profit campaign alongside major players Verizon and Ben and Jerry’s.
If you don’t know what the campaign is; its an initiative put forward to encourage brands to put a hold on their Facebook advertising for the month of July. What incited the movement? Well, Trump. Duh.
Last month, Trump’s social media posting hit a new low when he broadcast “When the looting starts, the shooting starts”. Of course, Trump has posted inflammatory, racist and even sexist remarks before; however given the tension surrounding the black lives matter movement, it appears this was the remark that finally broke the camels back.
I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the…
Except that it didn’t. At least, not for Facebook. While Twitter hid the tweet for glorifying violence, Facebook left the post completely untouched. The social media site determining that the statement didn’t violate any of it’s rules.
And while the actions from Facebook are reproachable at best, the response online has given us something to hope for. This is where the Stop Hate For Profit campaign comes in. The campaign was formed by a coalition of civil rights groups as a response to the proliferation of hate on the social media site. Essentially, they are asking for “businesses to stand in solidarity with our most deeply held American values of freedom, equality and justice”, by boycotting Facebook as an advertising platform for the entirety of July.
Let’s send Facebook a powerful message: Your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence.
So far, over 240 brands are participating in the movement, including Coca-cola and Starbucks. Considering the fact that Facebook makes a staggering 98% of its $70 billion dollar annual revenue through advertising, this is a huge deal. In fact, during the month of July, Zuckerberg might actually understand how businesses felt during the coronavirus lockdowns.
Just kidding, 2% of $70 billion is still one billion four hundred million dollars. Not to mention Zuckerberg’s multi-million dollar tax break.
Following the max exodus of advertisers, Facebook hastily implemented a policy which would follow in Twitters footsteps by labelling questionable content. Although it stopped shy of removing any offensive posts, as they are still deemed newsworthy.
As you can imagine, these measures were not enough for the Stop Hate For Profit organisers.
“We have been down this road before with Facebook… They have made apologies in the past. They have taken meager steps after each catastrophe where their platform played a part. But this has to end now.”
Until Facebook can step up and commit to creating meaningful change, then the Stop Hate For Profit boycott will go ahead for the entirety of July. In order to do this, the campaign outlines 10 recommendations to better address hate speech on the platform.
The recommendations are:
- Hiring a C-suite-level executive with a civil rights background who will review the company’s products and rules for discrimination, bias and hate.
- Participating in a regular audit by an independent third-party about identity-based misinformation and hate. The results would be published online.
- Notifying businesses if their ads are shown next to content Facebook pulled down that violated its rules and give them a refund.
- Finding and removing Facebook groups on white supremacy, militia, antisemitism, violent conspiracies, Holocaust denialism, vaccine misinformation and climate denialism.
- Adopting policy changes to help combat hateful content.
- Stop recommending or amplifying groups or content with ties to hate, misinformation or conspiracies to users.
- Creating a way to automatically flag hateful content in private groups for human review.
- Stop exempting politicians from fact checking, removing misinformation about voting and prohibiting calls to violence from politicians. (Facebook says that it will remove content that suppresses voting and incites violence including from politicians, but critics have disagreed with how the company interprets its rules.)
- Creating expert teams to review identity-based hateful content and harassment.
- Allowing people facing severe hate or harassment to talk to a Facebook employee.
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