Organizers Say, “Facebook Ad Boycott Campaign to Go Global

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Recently, to increase pressure on Facebook to remove hate speech, organizers of the Facebook advertising boycott campaign has drawn support from expanding the list of major companies. There move is aimed to prepare for taking the campaign globally. Free Press and Common Sense launched the campaign following the death of George Floyd along with the Color of Change and the Anti-Defamation League.

On Saturday, in an interview, Jim Steyer, Common Sense Media’s chief executive, said the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign will now call on some of the major companies in Europe to join the boycott. Since the launch of the campaign earlier this month, more than 160 companies have signed to stop buying ads on the platform including Unilever and Verizon Communications.

In June, the European Commission announced new guidelines for tech companies to submit reports every month on their efforts at handling misinformation including Facebook. The outrage in the U.S. has led to an unprecedented reaction from corporations and the impact has been felt beyond its borders. For instance, Unilever changed the name of popular a skin-lightening product in India called Fair and Lovely.

Jessica Gonzalez, co-chief executive of Free Press, said that they have contacted several major U.S. telecommunications and media companies for their support in the campaign.

On Sunday, Facebook has acknowledged that it has more work and is teaming up with civil rights groups and experts. These teams will be focusing on the development of tools to fight hate speech. The company also said that their investments in AI have allowed them to find 90% of hate speech even before users report it.

Expansion of the campaign beyond the U.S. borders will take a bigger slice off of Facebook’s advertising revenue. However, it is unlikely that the company will face a major financial impact. For instance, Unilever’s committed to pausing its ad spending in the U.S. on Facebook for this year. It accounts for 10% of its overall $250 million estimated on Facebook advertising annually.

The organizers said that they will urge global advertisers such as Unilever and Honda to pull their Facebook ads globally. As out of $70 billion of Facebook’s advertising sales, a quarter comes from big companies such as Unilever and others derived from small businesses. Facebook’s hate speech policies have hurt its stock as it declined by 8.3%, on Friday.

“If they think they are done based on Friday, they are sorely mistaken,” Gonzalez said. “We don’t need a one-off policy here and there. We need a comprehensive policy.”

Demands outlined by Stop Hate for Profit include a separate moderation process to help users targeted by race and other identifiers. To stop generating ad revenue from harmful content they have also outlined some points to be more transparent on incidents of hate speech.

Ian Orekondy, chief executive of AdComplyRx, said that Facebook has yet not address demands to refund from companies whose ads are displayed next to content, later removed for policy violations. It has rapidly accelerated to include other digital advertising platforms such as Twitter. On Sunday, Starbucks said that it would halt its advertising on all social media platforms to stop the spread of hate speech.

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