More advertisers are calling for Facebook content policy changes and are pulling ads from the platform in order to show Facebook they are serious, by halting spending money with them.
Looking at the #stophateforprofit hashtag, many brands have joined the alliance to not spend any money advertising on Facebook for July – or until Facebook make changes on how it operates in order to stem the spread of misinformation, hatred or other forms of discrimination on the platform.
Facebook has faced much backlash in political circles over the election of Trump and Brexit, where misinformation was spread on the platform with little effort to control or correctly inform the public on Facebook’s front.
While Facebook is funded by advertisers and the users share and engage with posts, many people believe that Facebook has a duty to police content shared on the platform, and ensure that any form of hatred or misinformation is not allowed to be posted – or the spread of it is at least halted when flagged.
The Stop Hate For Profit group is organised by groups such as Color of Change, NAACP, and the founder of Sleeping Giants Matt Rivitz.
The website describes what it is all about:
We are asking all businesses to stand in solidarity with our most deeply held American values of freedom, equality and justice and not advertise on Facebook’s services in July. What would you do with $70 billion? We know what Facebook did.
They allowed incitement to violence against protesters fighting for racial justice in America in the wake of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and so many others.They named Breitbart News a “trusted news source” and made The Daily Caller a “fact checker” despite both publications having records of working with known white nationalists. They turned a blind eye to blatant voter suppression on their platform. Could they protect and support Black users? Could they call out Holocaust denial as hate? Could they help get out the vote? They absolutely could. But they are actively choosing not to do so.
99% of Facebook’s $70 billion is made through advertising. Who will advertisers stand with? Let’s send Facebook a powerful message: Your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence. Please join us.https://www.stophateforprofit.org/
Essentially the site outlines that Facebook should:
- Establish and empower permanent civil rights infrastructure to evaluate policies for hate and discrimination.
- Submit to third party audits of identity-based hate and misinformation
- Provide audit of and refunds to advertisers where ads are shown next to content which is later removed for violations
- Remove groups focused on hate or misinformation
- Adopt changes to policies to stem radicalizationStop amplifying groups or content related to hate or misinformation
- Flag hateful content in private groups
- Ensure accuracy in political and voting matters
- Create teams to review submissions of identity-based hate and harassment
- Enable individuals facing harassment to connect with a live Facebook employee
Some of the bigger name participating businesses include:
- The North Face
So what’s next?
Facebook’s stock price dropped 8% upon the announcement that Unilever were pulling ads, so Mark Zuckerberg needs to think about next steps carefully.
For advertisers however, this presents an opportunity in a number of ways. You can join in and make a difference in standing with these businesses in order to reform the platform, or take advantage of the reduced competition and get cheaper advertising.
Zuckerberg has already stated that:
Overall, the policies we’re implementing today are designed to address the reality of the challenges our country is facing and how they’re showing up across our community. I’m committed to making sure Facebook remains a place where people can use their voice to discuss important issues, because I believe we can make more progress when we hear each other. But I also stand against hate, or anything that incites violence or suppresses voting, and we’re committed to removing that no matter where it comes from. We’re continuing to review our policies, and we’ll keep working with outside experts and civil rights organizations to adjust our approach as new risks emerge. I’m optimistic that we can make progress on public health and racial justice while maintaining our democratic traditions around free expression and voting. I’m committed to making sure Facebook is a force for good on this journey.https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10112048980882521
For any businesses looking to navigate the new era of digital, we are offering a free digital marketing or ecommerce consultation to help businesses out during this time.